A historic milestone deserves a dazzling celebration. And true to tradition, the Michigan Chronicle’s 75th anniversary soiree Friday evening, Nov. 19, at the MGM Grand Detroit’s Grand Ballroom was indeed that.
Among the 800 attendees were guests emcees City Council President Charles Pugh and WWJ-TV producer and Detroit Free Press columnist Carol Cain, in addition to Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Judge Greg Mathis, among many more, and there was a performance by R&B recording star Dwele.
The event gave publisher Sam Logan a chance to reflect on the achievements of Michigan’s largest African American newspaper and the voice of the Black community over the past 75 years.
“The purpose of Black press in Detroit and the entire region is as strong as it was 75 years ago when the first Michigan Chronicle hit the press,” Logan said in an interview. “We have a moral obligation to the community. Positive begets positive. Negative begets negative. That’s why we are here.”
It is that positive perspective that sets the Chronicle apart from other media outlets.
Political leaders like Sen. Stabenow commended the role of the Chronicle: “It is extremely important to lift up and celebrate Detroit and the leaders in the African American community. The Michigan Chronicle is a much needed voice. We need another 75 years.”
The event also served as a platform to recognize key community leaders for their tireless work in bettering the diverse community of Detroit and Southeast Michigan.
Among the honorees were Carol Goss, president and CEO of The Skillman Foundation, an organization on a mission to improve the quality of education and community for children in Metro Detroit.
Native Detroiter Dr. Benjamin Carson, noted physician and director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, received the Michigan Chronicle’s Living Legend Award.
Goss accepted the Chronicle’s Newsmaker of the Year award, noting, “This is a humbling experience for me. The Michigan Chronicle was always a news source my family counted on.”
R&B star Dwele, a native Detroiter and avid reader of the Michigan Chronicle who closed out the event, said, “the Chronicle is so important. We have a paper we can turn to find out what’s really going on in the community. It’s a beautiful thing.”
The event, sponsored by Bank of America, Fifth Third Bank, St. John Providence Health Systems, Real Times Media, Strategic Staffing Solutions, Ford Motor Company and Global Automotive Alliance, was considered among the top networking events of the year.
Bank of America served as the event’s diamond sponsor, and the company’s Michigan president, Kieth Cockrell, expressed his gratitude to the paper for a job well done.
“We offer the Michigan Chronicle our sincere appreciation for staying the course and persevering through difficult times. We’re proud to partner with the Chronicle,” he said.
On stage at the event, Hiram Jackson, CEO of the Chronicle’s parent company, Real Times Media, quoted the forefathers of the Black press, Sam Cornish and John Russworm, to highlight the relevance of the Black press.
“’We wish to plead our own case,” he said. “For too long others have spoken for us, “That is a sentiment still as relevant today as it was 150 years ago with the launch of the first Black paper in history, The Freedom Journal.”