Doris and Winthrop Sears, Livonia, MI

Doris and (the late) Winthrop Sears helped set up Livonia Citizens for Better Human Relations in the early 1960s in a Detroit suburb.  The goal of this group was to protect and advance the civil rights of minorities: voting rights, free use of public facilities, school desegregation, communicating with the Civil Rights Commission and other federal programs, fair employment in Livonia and the Detroit suburbs, and improving community relations and services.  This activist couple also worked to support Operation Open Door, a group whose goal was to open segregated Detroit and the surrounding suburban housing to African American families.  Livonia Citizens for Better Human Relations was led by the Rev. Daniel Murphy of the Immaculate Heart of Mary parish in Detroit. Murphy and Livonia Citizens collaborated closely with a group called ACCESS, another group of community councils and clergy in northwest Detroit and the surrounding suburbs which combatted segregation in real estate.  This is a story of real people in our neighborhoods, living their lives and making society better for us all.  If you know of more such “unsung heroes” of civil rights, please send your story to us to post here.  Unsung heroes may be folks of any race, religion, age, or job.


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