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Remembering Mid-Michigan Civil Rights Icon John Duley

John Duley smiling in chair
Michigan State University
Civil rights and education advocate John Duley died July 15 at age 100.

John Duley, a civil rights and education icon in mid-Michigan, has died at the age of 100.

John Duley left his mark in the Lansing area in many ways.

In the 1960s, he marched for civil rights and helped form a student-based teaching program at Rust College in Mississippi.

Duley also founded the Greater Lansing Housing Coalition and a scholarship program for low-income residents of East Lansing’s Edgewood Village. 

Former state representative Lynn Jondahl knew Duley for more than 50 years.

He says he was also a strong advocate for experiential learning.

“While he was very involved in the university, he always attributed people’s experience as equally valid as an academic program,” he said.

Jondahl called Duley's death a "great loss."

"You have to celebrate a life well-lived. He was a hero on a number of issues. He was such a smart and strategic thinking person.”

Duley died on July 15.

The Presbyterian Church of Okemos will host a celebration of John Duley’s life this Saturday at 11 a.m.

Kevin Lavery served as a general assignment reporter and occasional local host for Morning Edition and All Things Considered before retiring in 2023.
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