Wayne State University to Honor a Civil Rights Movement Martyr

Wayne State University in Detroit has announced that it will award the first posthumous honorary degree in its 145-year history to Viola Gregg Liuzzo. In 1965, Liuzzo, a White women who studied nursing at Wayne State University, was murdered in Lowndes County, Alabama, by the Ku Klux Klan. Liuzzo, a member of the Detroit chapter of the NAACP, was helping participants in the Selma voting rights effort. She was 39 years old.

liuzzoThree White men were acquitted of murder in state court but later were convicted of federal conspiracy charges and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

A collection of documents relating to the life and death of Liuzzo and the subsequent investigation and trial has been established at the Levi Watkins Learning Center Digital Library at Alabama State University in Montgomery.


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