Last week, the African-American media community lost one of its own. After a half-century in the newspaper business, newspaper icon and longtime Michigan Chronicle publisher Sam Logan, 78, died Dec. 28.
“The passing of Sam Logan is a grievous loss to the Michigan Chronicle, the Real Times family and the city of Detroit. Sam was a towering figure of journalistic influence that had a positive, if not controversial effect on the political, business and social scene in Detroit,” said Rod Doss, editor and publisher of the New Pittsburgh Courier. “He was a man respected by his peers for his five decades-long years of service and business acumen at the Michigan Chronicle. His passing leaves a void not easily filled. He will be greatly missed.”
At the time of his death Logan served as publisher of the Michigan Chronicle and the Front Page, and was part owner of Real Times Media, a Black-owned media group with publications in Detroit, Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Memphis. Logan began working for the Chronicle in the 1960’s, remained there until his departure in 2000, and returned in 2003 when the newspaper was acquired by Real Times.
“Sam’s passion, drive, and total commitment to promoting positivity and tackling tough issues over the past four decades helped grow the Michigan Chronicle into the influential position it holds today,” said a statement by Real Time’s board of directors. “The Detroit community has lost a legend.”
During his brief departure from the Chronicle in 2000, Logan created the Michigan Front Page, which was later acquired by Real Times, upon his return to the Chronicle. Logan saw the newspaper through its 75th anniversary in 2010 and was commended for his years of service, which included delivering papers, writing, and becoming publisher in the mid-1980s.
“When Real Times Media acquired the Michigan Chronicle in 2003, there was never a question about who we wanted at the helm of this historic publication. In (Logan’s) tenure, he and his dedicated staff have grown the Michigan Chronicle into one of the state’s largest weekly newspapers,” wrote Hiram Jackson, CEO, Real Times Media, in an address celebrating the 75th anniversary. “The history he has lived and the moments he has helped to create continue to propel the growth of the Chronicle and provide each of us with a fresh perspective on the issues we face today.”
Logan who ran both papers, was born in Colquit, La. in 1933 and moved to Detroit at the age of 14. In 1950 he joined the U.S. Army as a paratrooper. He would later go on to earn his degree from the University of Detroit.
“Longtime Michigan Chronicle Publisher Sam Logan will surely be missed. For many such as myself, he provided us with an opportunity to break into the field of journalism and hone our craft—and in turn, helped launch the careers of those in fields ranging from mainstream media to national politics,” said Marcus Amick, Michigan Chronicle auto correspondent. “Along the way, he also provided some very valuable lessons on life in a way that only Mr. Logan could deliver them, as he was truly one-of-a-kind.”
Throughout his career, Logan was known for his bold opinions and sometimes-unconventional views. Two of the greatest controversies he is remembered for are the Chronicle’s 1994 endorsement of former Republican Gov. John Engler over Democrat Howard Wolpe and the paper’s 2004 endorsement of Republican Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson over Democratic opponent Brenda Lawrence.
“Sam Logan was a pioneer in Michigan journalism and a courageous advocate for Michigan’s African-American community. His leadership in Detroit and Michigan transcended politics and race,” said Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder in a statement. “As a proud newspaperman, he was passionate about the public’s right to know. Sam dedicated his life to providing his readers with solid, reliable information so they could make decisions that strengthened their cities. He was fearless when it came to taking a stand, and he did so out of a genuine love of Detroit and our state.”
Logan is survived by his children Diane Taylor, Rhonda Terry, Tierra Logan, Rashad Logan and several grandchildren.
“It is with deep regret that we announce the death of our father and grandfather Samuel Logan, longtime and legendary publisher of the Michigan Chronicle,” said Logan’s family in a statement. “At 78 our father lived a fulfilled life of service to Detroit and this nation. We thank everyone for their prayers and support at this time of grief.”
Visitation will be held Jan. 4 from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Jan. 5 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Swanson Funeral Home, 14751 W. McNichols, Detroit, Mich., 48235. The funeral will be held Jan. 6 at 10 a.m. at Greater Grace Temple, 23500 W. Seven Mile Rd., Detroit, Mich., 48219.