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The Michigan chronicle. [volume] : (Detroit, Mich.) 1936-current
Place of publication:
Detroit, Mich.
Geographic coverage:
  • Detroit, Wayne, Michigan  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Michigan Chronicle Pub. Co.
Dates of publication:
  • Began in 1936.
  • English
  • African Americans--Michigan--Newspapers.
  • African Americans.--fast--(OCoLC)fst00799558
  • Detroit (Mich.)--Newspapers.
  • Michigan--Detroit.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01205010
  • Michigan--Wayne County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01206628
  • Michigan.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01208387
  • Wayne County (Mich.)--Newspapers.
  • Also issued by subscription via the World Wide Web.
  • Also issued on microfilm by University Microfilms International; later issued by ProQuest, <2000->.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Issue called: Emancipation Centennial ed., Feb. 9, 1963.
  • Vol. 3, no. 42 (Jan. 14, 1939).
  • Vol. 72, no. 15 (Dec. 24/30, 2008).
sn 83045324
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The Michigan chronicle. [volume] January 14, 1939 , Image 1


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The Michigan chronicle

A weekly newspaper, the Michigan Chronicle was founded in 1936 by John H. Sengstacke, at the time considered the designated heir of his uncle, Robert Sengstacke Abbott, owner of the Chicago Defender. John Sengstacke sensed there was a market for a weekly Black-owned newspaper published for Detroit, and in April 1936, he sent Lucius Harper to Detroit to establish a newspaper for him. In June, Sengstacke recalled Harper to Chicago and replaced him with Louis E. Martin.

Martin was born in Tennessee and had attended Fisk University before graduating from the University of Michigan in 1934. In 1936 he was hired as a reporter by the Chicago Defender, the city's major Black newspaper. After only a few months working on the Defender, Sengstacke gave Martin a new job. Martin left Chicago for Detroit on June 6, 1936. When he arrived and assumed control of the paper, the Chronicle had a paid circulation of about 900. By 1940 the paper had a weekly circulation of 15,000, and in 1945, circulation topped 25,000. Martin would stay at the Chronicle for 11 years.

As quoted in an article celebrating the Michigan Chronicle's 75th anniversary, found on the paper's website, Martin explained, "Fresh out of college with no experience, I was shocked to learn how tough a break Black workers got in the foundries of the auto plants and how insecure men felt about jobs in the factories,” He added that a Black worker could be fired for voting “the wrong way" or for any trivial matter that offended his boss. Martin supported Detroit’s emerging labor movement, where he "jumped into the fight with both feet and the Michigan Chronicle"

The Chronicle garnered national attention in its "radical" approach to politics. It advocated on behalf of both organized labor and the Democratic Party, both unusual in an era when the union movement was often seen as hostile to Black workers and the Southern-influenced Democratic Party frequently accepted racist policies.

In 1944, Longworth Quinn joined Martin at the Chronicle. Quinn, who graduated from Hampton Institute with John Sengstacke, also moved from the Defender to the Chronicle. Quinn served as publisher for decades, and in 1986 became publisher emeritus, but still came into the office daily. Quinn was a leader among Detroit's African-American business and church groups; groups that in turn supported the Chronicle.

Provided by: Central Michigan University, Clark Historical Library