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.

On this day in 1961: Ike addresses civil rights, term limits during Michigan visit 

By: - December 13, 2021

On Dec. 13, 1961, former President Dwight D. Eisenhower addressed the Michigan Constitutional Convention in Lansing and spoke about several topics, including civil rights and term limits. The noted World War II military general and GOP two-term president offered 20 minutes of remarks and took 40 minutes of questions from convention delegates. “So I hope […]

On this day in 1971: Ann Arbor rally held for ‘political prisoner’ John Sinclair 

By: - December 10, 2021

For John Sinclair, the Dec. 10, 1971, rally to support his release from state prison was a seminal event in his life.  It was there that an enthusiastic crowd of more than 15,000 packed Crisler Arena on the University of Michigan campus to protest his conviction for marijuana possession. For months, people had been chanting […]

On this day in 1823: Gabriel Richard becomes first Roman Catholic priest to serve in Congress 

By: - December 8, 2021

On Dec. 8, 1823, Michigan territorial representative Father Gabriel Richard became the first Roman Catholic priest to serve in Congress. A member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Richard was a non-voting delegate to the body for a single two-year term. He was born on Oct. 15, 1767, at Saintonge in southwestern France and arrived […]

On this day in 1965: KKK members are convicted of killing civil rights activist

By: - December 3, 2021

On Dec. 3, 1965, an all-white jury in Alabama convicted three Ku Klux Klansmen in the murder of white civil rights activist Viola Liuzzo, a Detroit activist, mother and part-time Wayne State University student. The incident came at a time when America was coming to grips with deep-seeded racial inequities in education and housing. It […]

Coalition calls for Michigan businesses to stop funding voter suppression

By: - December 2, 2021

The Defend Black Voters Coalition on Thursday in Detroit called on Michigan companies to cut off funding to legislators who support what they described as “voter suppression legislation.”  “These businesses have made statements supporting Black Lives Matter or opposing voter suppression,” said Jennifer Disla, Detroit Action co-executive director and Defend Black Voters Coalition co-chair. “Yet, […]

On this day in 1922: Charles Diggs Jr., Michigan’s first Black U.S. House member, is born

By: - December 2, 2021

On Dec. 2, 1922, civil rights champion Charles Diggs, Jr. was born in Detroit.  Diggs holds the distinction of being the first African American in Michigan history to be elected to the U.S. Congress. At age 31, he joined fellow Black Democrats William Dawson of Chicago and Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. of New York City […]

On this day in 1987: Blanchard and Young help unveil Motown historical marker

By: - December 1, 2021

On Dec. 1, 1987, Michigan Gov. James Blanchard and Detroit Mayor Coleman A. Young, along with Motown recording artists Smokey Robinson and Eddie Kendricks, attended a ceremony to support the dedication of the Motown Historical Museum in Detroit. The event featured the unveiling of a Michigan Historical Marker at the site. In 1959, armed with […]

On this day in 1917: Civil rights legend Daisy Elliott was born

By: - November 26, 2021

On Nov. 26, 1917, Daisy Elliott was born in Filbert, W.V. The Democrat would go on to co-sponsor seminal civil rights legislation in Michigan. Like many, she later moved to Detroit during the Great Migration, a period between 1914 and 1950 when African Americans from the South moved to the Motor City seeking improved employment […]

Jury finds McMichaels, Bryan guilty of Ahmaud Arbery’s murder

By: and - November 24, 2021

A nearly all-white jury in a Glynn County courtroom Wednesday afternoon convicted three white men of murder in the death of Ahmaud Arbery as the 25-year-old Black jogger ran through their neighborhood in February 2020. Travis McMichael, seen all over the world in a viral video that shows him firing a shotgun into Arbery at close range, […]

Black parents push back against right-wing attacks on ‘critical race theory’

By: - November 20, 2021

Danielle Atkinson recalls being outraged after learning about an incident that took place five years ago at Royal Oak Middle School located in suburban Detroit.   It occurred the day after former President Donald Trump’s win in November 2016. A group of Latino children were eating when white students began chanting at them, “Build the wall,” […]

For Black Michiganders, infrastructure bill brings hope for change

By: - November 11, 2021

The recently passed $1.2 trillion infrastructure legislation has big implications for racial equity in Michigan, Black leaders said this week. Lavora Barnes, the Michigan Democratic Party chair, said this “once-in-a-generation investment in good paying jobs, infrastructure, and broadband Internet access will support folks from Houghton to Detroit.” “In 2020, Black voters in Wayne County, Oakland […]

On this day in 1969: ‘Sesame Street’ debuts with Paw Paw native in the cast

By: - November 10, 2021

On Nov. 10, 1969 the children’s series “Sesame Street” premiered on the Public Broadcasting System (PBS). One of the “Sesame Street” characters, Susan Robinson, was played by Paw Paw, Michigan-born educator Loretta Long. It came at a time when Black and Brown civic and political leadership and grassroots parents were fighting for more equity and […]