DETROIT — Samuel Logan Jr., the publisher of the prominent African-American newspaper the Michigan Chronicle who was known for his dedication to news coverage of the black community and a willingness to make tough stands, has died. He was 78.
Logan died Wednesday at his home in Detroit and a cause of death hasn't yet been determined, the newspaper's Senior Editor Bankole Thompson said in an email Thursday.
"He was a pioneer in black journalism and the great history that gave birth to the black press in America. ... He was very keen about the public's right to know," Thompson said.
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing said Logan was a loyal friend who will be deeply missed.
"Sam Logan was more than a Detroit icon, he was a respected pioneer in black journalism who championed the need for coverage of a community not totally served by the mainstream media," Bing said in a statement.
Logan's career at the Chronicle spanned a half-century, and he rose through a variety of advertising and marketing jobs. He served as publisher for several years until 2000. He then founded the black newspaper Michigan Front Page before returning in 2003 as the Chronicle's publisher.
"Sam Logan and the Michigan Chronicle have been responsible for empowering a community that often times viewed itself as without power," Detroit NAACP president Wendell Anthony said in a statement. "Sam was not only publisher of the Michigan Chronicle he was reporter, salesman, editor, promoter, marketer and the very spirit of ... the Michigan Chronicle."
Logan drew criticism in 1994 when the Chronicle, which is based in heavily Democratic Detroit, endorsed Republican Gov. John Engler for re-election. The endorsement drew pickets and boycotts by black leaders, and about 200 protesters burned copies of the newspaper that November.
The newspaper had historically supported Democratic candidates, but the newspaper's editorial board passed over Engler's Democratic challenger, Howard Wolpe. The Chronicle said it endorsed Engler because Wolpe failed to show how he would improve on the governor's fiscal plans, which cut taxes.
"We're here to make a difference, not a dollar," Logan said at the time.
In a statement posted on the Chronicle's website, Logan's family said he "lived a fulfilled life of service to Detroit and this nation."
Gov. Rick Snyder said Logan was "courageous advocate for Michigan's African-American community" whose leadership transcended politics and race.
"Sam dedicated his life to providing his readers with solid, reliable information so they could make decisions that strengthened their cities," Snyder said in a statement. "He was fearless when it came to taking a stand, and he did so out of a genuine love of Detroit and our state."
Funeral arrangements were pending through Swanson Funeral Home in Detroit.