Whitmer renames Lewis Cass Building to honor civil rights act authors


LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed an executive order that renames the state-owned Lewis Cass Building in downtown Lansing to the “Elliott-Larsen Building,” honoring the legislators who sponsored Michigan’s landmark civil rights act.

The legislation was introduced by Republican State Rep. Melvin Larsen and Democratic State Rep. Daisy Elliott in 1976 and was signed into law by Governor William Milliken in January of 1977. 

This change marks the first time in Michigan history that a state building is named after an African-American woman. 

“Together, Melvin Larsen and Daisy Elliott’s names have become synonymous in Michigan with the protection of civil rights,” said Governor Whitmer.

In 1976, the people of Michigan, led by Daisy Elliott, a former Democratic member of the Michigan House of Representatives, and Melvin Larsen, a former Republican member of the Michigan House of Representatives, passed Public Act 453, known as the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.

The act declared that the right to be free from discrimination is a civil right and expanded constitutional protections to a broader class of individuals.

This order is effective immediately, and the Department of Management, Technology and Budget will begin efforts to update the signage of the Elliott-Larsen Building as soon as possible.  

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