Ken Coleman

Ken Coleman

Ken Coleman covers Southeast Michigan, economic justice 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, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Historical Society of Michigan trustee and a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.

Michigan Capitol

Nessel: Civil asset forfeiture system ‘inherently unfair’

By: - February 20, 2019

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said at a House committee hearing on Tuesday that civil asset forfeiture reform is necessary because the current system is “inherently unfair.” The House Judiciary Committee is considering HB 4001, sponsored by Rep. Jason Wentworth (R-Clare), and HB 4002, sponsored by Rep. David LaGrand (D-Grand Rapids). Last week, the Senate […]

House Republicans offer ‘guiding principles’ for term

By: - February 20, 2019

Republican members of the Michigan House on Tuesday unveiled their action plan for the 2019-20 legislative term, hitting on issues they’ve stressed before. During the 12-minute, broad-strokes presentation, the 58-member majority caucus talked about: Improving infrastructure, including roads, public water systems and broadband. Protecting constitutional rights and religious freedoms. Addressing mental illness and victims of […]

On this day in 1922: Michigan’s first Black Supreme Court justice is born

By: - February 20, 2019

Otis M. Smith, the first African-American to serve on the Michigan Supreme Court, was born on this day in Memphis, Tenn., in 1922. Smith attended Fisk University and Syracuse University. In 1950, he earned a degree from Catholic University Law School in Washington, D.C. In January 1951, he began to practice law in Flint. Five […]

A gun show

GOP lawmaker appears to compare poll taxes to gun license fees

By: - February 19, 2019

It was a fairly routine Michigan House committee hearing until a GOP lawmaker unexpectedly raised the idea of a poll tax, which hasn’t been legal in more than a half-century. On Tuesday, Attorney General Dana Nessel was invited to appear before the House Judiciary Committee. The Democrat talked about the organization of her office and […]

AG: Trump’s national emergency ‘violates’ separation of powers

By: - February 19, 2019

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel on Tuesday told reporters that President Donald Trump has run afoul of the Constitution with his declaration of a national emergency to secure funding for a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border. On Monday, Nessel joined attorneys general in 15 other states who filed an injunction against the action, as the […]

On this day in 1969: A GOP governor plants his flag in Detroit

By: - February 18, 2019

Gov. William Milliken opened an office in Detroit on this day in 1969. The Traverse City Republican became the state’s chief executive officer on Jan. 22 after George Romney resigned to join President Richard Nixon administration. “The problems of the city are the problems of us all, whether we live in the Upper Peninsula, Benton […]

Whitmer, Gilchrist release partial January schedules

By: - February 17, 2019

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer disappointed many transparency advocates when she opted against opening up her office to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), but she has released a partial calendar for January. Lt. Gov.Garlin Gilchrist’s partial schedule also has been posted publicly. Under Michigan law, the governor’s executive office and the Legislature are exempt from FOIA. […]

The day women took over the Senate in 1974

By: - February 15, 2019

A chorus of “Happy Birthday” to suffragette Susan B. Anthony rang out on the floor of the Michigan Senate on this day in 1974. Although only men were serving in the Legislature’s upper chamber at the time, several progressive organizations sponsored a mock female Senate session designed to dramatize the need for women political candidates. […]

ACLU: Ballot measure limit law unconstitutional, ‘squelches’ speech

By: - February 14, 2019

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan says a new law restricting the ballot initiative process is unconstitutional and will result in citizens’ speech being “squelched.” Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has already requested that Attorney General Dana Nessel consider the constitutionality of the law. The ACLU was asked to weigh in and did […]

On this day in 1963: Romney helps Detroit’s Olympics bid

By: - February 14, 2019

On this day in 1963, Gov. George Romney formed a five-person finance committee to find money to construct an Olympic Stadium complex on the Michigan State Fairgrounds. The idea was designed to strengthen Detroit’s bid to host the 1968 Summer Olympic Games. The committee included Chair Donald Valley, president of the National Bank of Detroit; […]

Detroit’s first Black teacher died on this day in 1922

By: - February 13, 2019

Fannie Richards, the city’s first Black public school teacher, died on this day in 1922. She was 81 years old. Richards was born on October 1, 1840, to free parents in Fredericksburg, Va. As a child, she moved with her parents to Toronto, Canada, where she was educated. In 1863, Richards opened a private school for […]

Civil asset forfeiture bill clears Senate

By: - February 13, 2019

Legislation requiring a conviction before law enforcement officials could seize money, cars or other property passed the Senate on Wednesday by a bipartisan 36-2 vote. State Sens. Kim LaSata (R-Bainbridge Twp.) and Paul Wojno (D-Warren) voted no. The bicameral commitment to reform the state’s civil asset forfeiture process has been one of the earliest hopes […]