For years, it’s been the Michigan Citizen and the Michigan Chronicle who have been voices from Detroit’s black community. The Citizen has had a progressive profile and a story selection that is sometimes different than the mainstream media … a perspective that was birthed from the eyes of a community organizer, and billed themselves as “America’s Most Progressive Community Newspaper.”
But no more for the print edition of the Citizen, as they have ceased weekly publication with their last edition on December 28, 2014.
The paper was started in 1978 by the late Charles Kelly and Teresa Maxwell Kelly and have been working out of the same building as Le Petit Zinc on Trumbull in Corktown. No plans have been announced as to what’s happening going forward except they say to “connect with the Michigan Citizen via social media to learn of future projects.”
The reason they cite for the ceasing of weekly publication was “Due to the overall decline of the newspaper industry.” The circulation for the print edition was 56,000, according to Wikipedia (which sourced 2010 data) and had 26 retail locations according to their website.
“We have deep gratitude for the hundreds of contributors over nearly four decades, the tens of thousands of readers and the citizens in our community who informed our work and whose voices challenged local and state government to be responsible to all of us.” – The Michigan Citizen
One of the most interesting events this year was a panel by the Michigan Citizen in the Jam Handy space in New Center over the summer. Detroit SOUP often meets in the space, but on that sunny morning it was one of the best discussions about gentrification and real talk around race.
“Two Detroits? Gentrification.” featured a diverse set of voices including Lauren Hood of Loveland Technologies, George N’Namdi the gallery owner, Phil Cooley, the proprietor of Slow’s BBQ, Kirk Mayes (now CEO of Forgotten Harvest but then from the office of the Mayor), Khary “WAE” Frazier the hip-hop artist and Catherine Kelly, publisher of the Michigan Citizen. It was respectful, enlightening, and people gave answers you wouldn’t expect.
It set a high standard for a panel that all of us should aspire to. They were months ahead of the current conversation. Tried to find it online, but alas, it seems like the video was never uploaded for public consumption.
We at Daily Detroit will toast one to you, Michigan Citizen. We hope you find your way to a next chapter, whatever it is. Their Twitter account is @MichiganCitizen.