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State renames building for two Michigan civil rights pioneers

The former Lewis Cass building in Lansing has been renamed as the Elliott Larsen Building. From Left: Badriyyah Sabree (Daisy Elliott's granddaughter): Gov. Gretchen Whitmer; Mel Larsen; Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist.
Kevin Lavery

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has formally dedicated a state office building with a new name that honors two civil rights pioneers.

The former Lewis Cass building in downtown Lansing is now the Elliott-Larsen Building.

In 1976, state representatives Daisy Elliott and Mel Larsen co-wrote a landmark civil rights bill prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex, race, religion, and several other factors.

Elliott was a Black Democrat from Detroit; Larsen is a white Oakland County Republican.

Whitmer says the renaming is an important symbol of the values Michiganders stand for.

“The momentous work that Mel Larsen and Daisy Elliott did, we’ve all benefitted from whether we’ve known it or not," she said. "So, I’m really grateful for the work that they did and I’m really grateful to be in a position where we can do something to honor them for it.”

Elliott died in 2015. She is the first Black woman in Michigan to have a state building named in her honor.

Kevin Lavery is a reporter at WKAR.