Dennis Archer

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Served from 1986 through 1990

Oral HistoryInvestiture Ceremony

Dennis W. Archer was born on January 1, 1942, in Detroit, Michigan. In his formal education, Archer did not originally steer his career toward law. He attended Wayne State University with the intention of studying pharmacy. He then transferred to the Detroit Institute of Technology and transferred once again to Western Michigan University. At this point, Archer wanted to pursue a career as a history teacher, yet ended up becoming a special education teacher. He received a B.S. from Western Michigan University in 1965.

Archer became a special education teacher at Bunche Elementary School. His wife, Trudy DunCombe Archer (now a judge), encouraged him to pursue a law career and Archer began taking night classes at the Detroit College of Law, where he received his degree in 1970. He eventually became a partner in the firm of Charfoos, Christensen and Archer, P.C. (Charfoos, Christensen and Archer, P.C. Backgrounder: Dennis W. Archer, Partner, Detroit, Michigan, 1985.)

Archer was appointed to the Michigan Supreme Court by Governor James Blanchard in November of 1985 and elected to an eight-year term in November of 1986. He resigned from the Court in 1990 to resume private practice. Eventually, he pursued and won the position of Mayor of Detroit. As Mayor, Archer stressed “a desire to improve the chances of success for the city’s children.” (Basheda, Valerie. Michigan Monthly. “Dennis Archer: Too Good to be Mayor?” Nov. 1995.)

Archer is a member of a number of professional organizations such as the National Bar Association, Wolverine Bar Association, and the American Bar Association. In addition, Archer served on the Board of Trustees and Board of Directors for the Michigan Cancer Foundation. He was also on the Board of Governors for the Comprehensive Cancer Center of Metropolitan Detroit. Archer served on the Board of Directors for the Detroit College of Law and is also a life member of the NAACP. (Michigan Manual: Ed. 1997 – 1998. Lansing, Michigan: Legislative Council, State of Michigan.) In the May 1984 edition of Ebony magazine, Archer was named one of the 100 Most Influential Black Americans.

Portrait presented on: (Click link to read transcript)
December 6, 1995

Michigan Reports Vol. No.: 450

Portrait Artist:
Collins, Paul

Oil on canvas

47 1/2″ X 35 1/2″

Owned by:
State of Michigan

Current location:
Hall of Justice – 6th Floor:
Justice Brian Zahra’s Suite

Portrait photo by:
Doug Elbinger, Lansing – June 1996