In 1890 David Augustus Straker fought for everyone to be served in public

It was 1890, the year David Augustus Straker made history.

"He is a very interesting character in Michigan history, very important person in Michigan history." said Sandra Clark.

Straker was the first African-American lawyer to appear before the Michigan Supreme Court. His client, William W. Ferguson, was denied service in the main area of a Detroit restaurant - under the Separate but Equal law.

Sandra Clark, with the Historical Marker Commission, says Straker, a native of Barbados, and a prominent citizen, took on the fight.

She said Straker argued Separate but Equal was unconstitutional according to Michigan law.

"It's in 1890, this is before Plessy vs Ferguson, they don't have that Supreme Court Decision," Clark said. "So he goes to court and he wins. And at least one Michigan court says now everyone has the right to be served in a public establishment."

Straker's historical marker, awarded in 1977, was stolen. But it doesn't erase the accomplishments of a man driven to always stand up for what he believed.

David Augustus Straker