Dennis Archer

Dennis Archer
Dennis Archer
67th Mayor of Detroit
In office
January 1994 – December 2001
Preceded by Coleman A. Young
Succeeded by Kwame Kilpatrick
Personal details
Born January 1, 1942 (1942-01)
Detroit, Michigan
Political party Democratic

Dennis Wayne Archer (born January 1, 1942) is an American lawyer and politician from Michigan. A Democrat, Archer served on the Michigan Supreme Court and as mayor of Detroit. He later served as president of the American Bar Association, becoming the first African-American president of the organization which, until 1943, had barred African-American laywers from membership.[1][2]


Early life and education

Archer was born in Detroit, but raised in Cassopolis.[3] He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in education from Western Michigan University. He taught learning-disabled children in Detroit Public Schools from 1965 to 1970. Archer earned his J.D. from the Detroit College of Law in 1970.[4]

Service on the Michigan Supreme Court and as Detroit mayor

Archer served as a justice on the Michigan Supreme Court from 1986 to 1990. In his last year as a Michigan Supreme Court justice, he was named "most respected judge in Michigan" by Michigan Lawyers Weekly.

Archer served as mayor of Detroit from 1993 to 2001. As mayor, Archer worked to repair the city's relations with the Detroit suburbs and the local business community through cooperation with suburban business leaders on their redevelopment plans for the city, reducing tensions.

Archer was a strong supporter of numerous construction projects in downtown Detroit, including two new stadiums, Ford Field for the Detroit Lions and Comerica Park for the Detroit Tigers. Archer also became president of the National League of Cities during his last year as mayor.

As mayor Archer was never popular with loyalists of his predecessor, Coleman Young. Young favored Sharon McPhail, a former member of the Detroit City Council, and wished for her to succeed him. In the 1993 race to succeed Young, Archer (who is black) did not win a majority of the black vote. Archer was re-elected by a large margin in 1997, but was subject to a recall campaign in his second term, launched by many of his original opponents. Archer declined to run for re-election in 2001.[5]


Upon leaving office as Mayor of Detroit in January 2002, Archer was appointed as chairman of Detroit-based law firm Dickinson Wright, and the board of directors of Compuware.[6] He is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America.

In 2004, he was appointed to an eight-year term ending December 31, 2012 on the board of trustees of the Western Michigan University by Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm. He was appointed legal guardian for famous civil rights activist Rosa Parks in October 2004.

In February 2008, Archer announced that he was considering running for governor of Michigan in 2010, but ultimately decided not to enter the race the following November.[7][8]

Archer serves as a co-chair of the National Transportation Policy Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center.[9]

Personal life

Archer is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha and of Geometry Lodge #49, F&AM PHA, Prince Hall Freemasonry.

External links


Political offices
Preceded by
Coleman Young
Mayor of Detroit
Succeeded by
Kwame Kilpatrick

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