Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Archer, Dennis

Dennis Archer was born in Detroit and raised in Cassopolis, Michigan. He began working at a young age as golf caddy and continued to work a variety of different jobs to put himself through college and law school. He attended Western Michigan University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Education. While working on his law degree during the late 1960s at Detroit College of Law, Archer taught disabled children in two Detroit Public Schools.

After earning his law degree, Archer practiced as a trial lawyer and taught as an associate professor at the Detroit College of Law and an adjunct professor at Wayne State University Law School. In 1986 he was appointed to the Michigan Supreme Court, but he stepped down in 1990.

In 1993, Dennis Archer succeeded Coleman Young to become Detroit’s 59th mayor. While in office, Archer managed to balance the budget after only one year and he was able to secure $100 million in federal empowerment funds for the struggling city. Dennis Archer’s time as mayor earned him many awards and much admiration. He was named Public Official of the Year by Governing magazine in 2000, was named one of the 25 most dynamic mayors in America by Newsweek Magazine, one of the 100 Most Powerful Attorneys in the United States by the National Law Journal and one of the 100 Most Influential Black Americans by Ebony magazine.

Archer also received an Award of Excellence and was named 1998 Newsmaker of the Year by Engineering News-Record magazine (a sister publication to Business Week.) After his two terms as mayor, Archer returned to the practice of law at one of Detroit’s most prestigious law firms, Dickinson Wright. Dennis Archer and his wife, Judge Trudy DunCombe Archer, have two sons, Dennis W. Archer, Jr. and Vincent DunCombe Archer.



Election flyer picturing Dennis Archer

Dennis Archer campaign novelty plate

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