Historic Elmwood Cemetery & Foundation

Historic Elmwood Cemetery & Foundation

Where Detroit's History Endures
elmwood_ducks_banner.jpg

Kermit G. Bailer

Kermit G. Bailer
(1921-1996)

Kermit Gamaliel Bailer, a Detroit lawyer who spent most of his career working on behalf of civil rights groups and in public service, including civil rights assignments in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, died on Nov. 30 1996.

Bailer was born in Detroit in 1921.  He graduated from the University of Michigan.  From 1943 – 1945, Bailer served in the US Army Air Force as a Tuskegee Airman.  He achieved the rank of First Lieutenant aerial navigator bombardier gunner with the 616th Squadron of the 477th Composite Bomb Group.  

In 1949, he earned a law degree at Wayne State University and went into private practice, taking time out in the 1950s to serve as assistant prosecutor for Wayne County.

He also worked for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and took part in campaigns to register voters and to integrate the Detroit Police Department.

President John F. Kennedy appointed him to the United States Commission on Civil Rights in 1961 to work on urban renewal and public housing. In the following years, he handled legal matters for what became the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

He left Washington in 1967 to handle the Model Cities Program for Berkeley, Calif. Returning to Detroit in 1975, he was corporation counsel for Mayor Coleman A. Young.

Bailer also worked at the Ford Motor Company, from 1977 to 1992.  He remained active in the firm of Hylton & Hylton until two months before his death.

Bailer is buried in Section 5, Lot 103.