May 6, 1931 Richard Henry Austin, the first African American to be elected to a state-wide position in Michigan, was born in Stouts Mountain, Alabama. Austin graduated from the Detroit Institute of Technology in 1937. He became the first Black Certified Public Accountant in Michigan in 1941 and co-founded the accounting firm Austin, Washington and Davenport in 1959. He served as Wayne County Auditor from 1967 to 1970. Austin was elected Michigan Secretary of State in 1970 and served until 1995, the longest serving secretary of state in Michigan history. During his tenure, he supported the enactment of laws mandating the use of seatbelts and child safety seats. He was also often referred to as “the father of the motor voter law” which combined the driver and voter registration processes. Austin died April 20, 2001. The Richard H. Austin State Office Building was dedicated in his honor in Lansing, Michigan May 11, 2006. Wayne State University also established the Richard H. Austin Fund for Accounting Excellence which annually provides scholarships to students who demonstrate the ability to excel in the accounting profession. Richard Austin was honored by The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History on May 5, 2015 and inducted into the museum’s Ring of Genealogy as a part of the 17th Annual Ford Freedom Award.