Ken Coleman

Ken Coleman

Ken Coleman writes about Southeast Michigan, history and civil rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on Black life in Detroit.

Michigan House repeals state’s 1931 abortion ban 

By: - March 3, 2023

In bipartisan fashion, the Michigan House approved bills on Thursday that would nullify Michigan’s 1931 abortion ban. The vote was 58-50 on the two bills, with state Reps. Thomas Kuhn (R-Troy) and Donni Steele (R-Orion Twp.) crossing over to join Democrats to vote for the legislation. House Bill 4006, sponsored by state Rep. Laurie Pohutsky […]

Gilchrist: Michigan ‘outperformed’ the nation in addressing COVID racial disparities, saved lives

By: - March 1, 2023

During the early months of 2020, Lt. Gov. Gilchrist was immersed in the epicenter of the new COVID-19 pandemic, which was disproportionately affecting Black Michiganders at that time.  The state’s first African American to serve in the state executive post later noted in 2021 that he had lost 27 people in his life to COVID. […]

‘We were not terrorists. We were freedom fighters.’ 

By: - March 1, 2023

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — For several years, Ntozelizwe Talakumeni, 66, said he endured daily, cruel conditions during his time in South Africa’s notorious Robben Island Prison.  The prison, now closed, is located nearly nine miles off the coast of Cape Town and nestled between the Atlantic and Indian oceans.  Like freedom fighter Nelson Mandela, […]

Benson works on national voting reforms, including big penalties for threatening election workers 

By: - February 20, 2023

Ahead of the 2024 presidential election, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has participated in a national effort to improve the election system.  NewDEAL Forum, a Washington, D.C. nonprofit, has released a set of  recommendations for state and local leaders “to preserve and strengthen our democracy,” according to the organization.   The Democracy Playbook contains more […]

Barnes wins third term as MDP chair, party endorses repealing Right to Work

By: - February 12, 2023

Lavora Barnes was reelected on Saturday to lead the Michigan Democratic Party (MDP) during the party’s spring state convention that was held at Huntington Place in Detroit.  State Rep. Jason Morgan (D-Ann Arbor) will serve as first vice-chair and State Sen. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor) will serve as second vice-chair.  “I am deeply appreciative of the […]

Speaker Tate, Detroit abortion rights activist to attend Biden’s State of the Union address

By: - February 7, 2023

U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) announced on Monday that Detroit activist Shanay Watson-Whittaker will join as her guest to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address to Congress. The speech will be Tuesday night. “Shanay was an integral part in ensuring that abortion rights were enshrined into law in Michigan’s Constitution through her work […]

On this day in 1964: Poet Langston Hughes visits Detroit, honored by city leaders

By: - February 7, 2023

On Feb. 7, 1964, noted poet Langston Hughes was given a key to the city of Detroit by acting Mayor Alfred Pelham. It occurred during a set of Motor City theater performances featuring Hughes’ work.   Mayor Jerry Cavanagh, a liberal Democrat, was on vacation, which meant Pelham, the municipal finance chief, was left in charge […]

On this day in 1933: Historic state House member Teola Hunter is born 

By: - February 5, 2023

Teola Hunter, the Michigan Legislature’s first woman to serve as House speaker pro tem, turns 90 on Sunday. Hunter, who is African American, was born in Detroit and grew up on the city’s lower east side. She graduated from Cass Technical High School in 1949 and later earned a bachelor’s degree in education in 1958 […]

Black Michigan mothers continue call for paid family leave legislation

By: - February 3, 2023

As the 30th anniversary of the seminal federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) nears, African American Michigan mothers and caregivers on Thursday shared their experiences and called for state paid leave legislation.  “Paid leave helps parents be more responsive to their children,” said Christina Hayes, a paid leave organizer at Mothering Justice, a Detroit-based nonprofit. […]

Michigan leaders speak out on continued violence against Asian Americans

By: - February 1, 2023

Michigan leaders and residents are continuing to mourn those lost to more violence against the Asian-American community.  Civil rights groups and government officials participated in a public vigil on Saturday to remember victims involved in mass shootings last month in Monterey Park near Los Angeles and Half Moon Bay, Calif. Attending the event were state […]

Michigan Black lawmakers renew call for police reforms after Tyre Nichols killing

By: - January 31, 2023

Members of the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus (MLBC) on Tuesday continued their call for police reform after the fatal beating of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tenn. “Enough is enough,” said state Rep. Donavan McKinney (D-Detroit), 30, who is African American, during a news conference at the state Capitol.  His comments spoke to several fatal […]

Hall of Fame journalist Luther Keith uses blues music to keep telling stories 

By: - January 28, 2023

Luther Keith is a former journalist, community leader and blues musician who believes that songwriting is similar to state Capitol news reporting.  “It’s 100% connected. God gave me the gift of words and the ability to write. Lyrics are the thing that people connect to. There are a lot of musicians who are great but […]