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Carol Cain

Carol Cain

Sam Logan —
Champion for the City

January 6, 2012

(Note: A funeral service for Sam Logan is scheduled for 10 a.m., Friday, January 6, at Greater Grace Temple, 23500 West Seven-Mile Road, Detroit. Burial will be at Elmwood Historic Cemetery in Detroit.)

In the often rough-and-tumble world of journalism, there are few legends. Sam Logan was one of them.

Southeast Michigan lost a pillar and the journalism community a giant with the passing last week of the 78-year-old Michigan Chronicle publisher who spent a 40-plus-year career at that Detroit newspaper.

Mr. Logan came to Detroit from the south as a teen and settled in the Motor City. He was a beloved father and grandfather — the two titles that mattered most to the gentle, soft-spoken leader who shunned the spotlight.

He made his mark during a storied career at the Chronicle and its sister paper, Michigan FrontPage, where his bold leadership and vision of a stronger Detroit had an impact not only on the region, but the entire state.

He worked tirelessly to close the gap between rich and poor, black and white. He was a champion for Detroit Public Schools, in hopes the district would return to its glorious past and prepare all young people for the competitive global marketplace.

Mr. Logan walked with American presidents, CEOs, powerful religious and community leaders. He was just as comfortable talking to young people and seniors at a community center on the city’s east side about issues confronting the African American community.

To Sam Logan, there was just one litmus test: helping and doing what he could to make his hometown, region and state better places. He was successful because he kept his focus on making a difference.

Mr. Logan was also a beloved friend and mentor whose impact will forever be etched in my heart and soul.

Sometimes, making a difference meant putting a spotlight on issues that others might have determined wouldn’t sell papers, like talking up a senior center being helped by young people.

Sometimes it meant taking a seemingly contrarian stance, like endorsing the best candidate in his view — such as Republican John Engler over Democrat Howard Wolpe in the 1994 Michigan governor’s race, an endorsement that gained national attention and the scorn of some readers.

He worked with others like Ed Deeb, chairman and founder of the Michigan Business and Professional Association and its sister Michigan Food and Beverage Association, to unite the community and quell sour racial relations that had erupted.

To Mr. Logan, it was always about doing the right thing for the community.

“He was fearless when it came to taking a stand and did so out of a genuine love of Detroit and our state,” Gov. Rick Snyder said.

“Sam Logan always spoke truth to power with integrity and authority,” said Tom Watkins, former state schools superintendent who was asked by Mr. Logan to write for the Chronicle because they shared concerns for DPS and other community issues.

Mr. Logan was also blessed with a keen sense of news. Under his leadership, the Chronicle led coverage about corruption in Detroit Public Schools a few years ago; the paper’s stories led to criminal cases.

He didn’t take delight in that. Nor did he try to gain journalism awards. Instead, Mr. Logan took comfort knowing those stories helped kids and classrooms when district dollars went where they rightfully should.

Mr. Logan and I would often talk about race relations — a topic that proved interesting to a black man from the south and a white woman raised on the east side of Detroit.

While many described the Chronicle as the largest African American newspaper in the state, Mr. Logan would tell me the Chronicle was in the business of providing information to “the entire community…black, white and anything in between.”

Which brought us to a conversation six years ago when he and Hiram Jackson, CEO of Real Times Media, parent company of the Chronicle, decided to start a breakfast forum where leaders would talk about critical issues that needed attention.

They wanted to have then-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, who had been bickering over Cobo Hall, discuss race relations and much more.

Mr. Logan approached me about moderating “Pancakes and Politics,” the name chosen for the event. As senior producer and host of WWJ-TV CBS Detroit’s Michigan Matters, I moderated conversations and forums for the Detroit Economic Club, Detroit Regional Chamber and others.

In keeping with the nature of our relationship, I cut to the chase. I asked if he thought about the obvious. “I may be from Detroit and attended Detroit Public Schools, but I am white.”

“Ms. Cain,” he started, as he would whenever he wanted to reinforce something, “You are looking for problems when there aren’t any. I see you as the perfect host for our event. I have fought my entire life to not have people judged by the color of their skin but by their abilities. End of story.”

We agreed to do the first one. And six years later, with governors, mayors, CEOs, religious leaders and more taking to the stage, “Pancakes and Politics” has been a success due to Mr. Logan’s and Mr. Jackson’s efforts.

Jackson, who worked alongside Mr. Logan for years, was named interim publisher of the Chronicle and is adamant about keeping Mr. Logan’s legacy alive at the paper.

“Sam’s dedication to the Michigan Chronicle was matched only by his passion for tackling tough issues for the betterment of the community to which he dedicated his life,” Jackson said.

Ironically, Mr. Logan and I talked only a week ago about the upcoming Pancakes season.

He was enthused about prospects in a year with a red-hot presidential contest. He was excited about Detroit, with the Ilitches, Gilberts, Karmanos and Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores here.

He felt the pieces were falling into place to take our region to the next level. Alas, Mr. Logan got the call. He was needed in heaven.

The Michigan Chronicle family will go on, as will “Pancakes” and other events led by the paper. The stories will continue, too.

God bless you, Sam Logan and your family! You led a wonderful life and leave behind an incredible legacy!

Carol Cain is an Emmy-winning journalist who is senior producer and host of WWJ-TV CBS Detroit’s Michigan Matters. She is also a columnist covering politics and business at the Detroit Free Press.

January 5, 2012 · Filed under Carol Cain Tags: , ,

45 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Liz Waxler // Jan 6, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    A wonderful story about a very good man. We need more Sam Logan’s in this world. Thanks for letting us know about his passing.

  • 2 rick march // Jan 6, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Sam Logan sounded like a pragmatic leader. IT really is too bad he has died when Detroit and state need more

  • 3 Ann P. // Jan 6, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Thank you Ms. Cain for this column and the one on the business leader Mr. Rothwell. Both articles expanded the “Dome” beyound the boundaries of the Lansing area– which added tremdous value to this publication.
    Well done.

  • 4 sara jones // Jan 6, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    This is interesting.. and really too bad he is not going to be leading in detroit. Truly a trailblazer..

  • 5 Tom W // Jan 6, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    You captured the essence of this thoughtful, decent and good man. Thanks for sharing the stories.
    He will be missed

  • 6 Dr. John Telford // Jan 6, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    I loved Sam Logan and wrote the Telford’s Telescope column for him for ten years. He was a towering, irreplaceable giant who will besorely missed.

  • 7 cee cee williams // Jan 6, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    Sam Logan was Detroit’s treasure. I am so glad he is getting well deserved accolades across the state. God bless him

  • 8 andy barbes // Jan 7, 2012 at 8:23 am

    living in northern michigan I have never read the chronicle. he sounded like the kind of reporter from bygone era.. am sorry he is gone

  • 9 Rhonda // Jan 7, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Thanks Dome magazine for bringing the readers stories like this that we do not get in the same level of detail as we do here.

    Dome, everything under the Capitol Dome and so, so much more!

  • 10 Albert // Jan 7, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Great to see you have more diversity in your coverage.
    There is more, even to Lansing that 60 year old white guys!

    Good to see you have a female, white reporter writing about a Black Man from Detroit that has been doing good things for the City of Detroit, Black Folks, the state of Michigan and serving his country for decades.

    Dome could uses a bit more diversity– we are a diverse state — you know?

    Thank you for taking this small step.

  • 11 jay johnson // Jan 8, 2012 at 7:49 am

    You captured the spirit of Sam Logan as few others .. He was a pragmatic man but had broad vision. He did not see things as being black or white. Thank you for writing this

  • 12 Alonzo B. // Jan 8, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    I found this to be a moving story about a remarkable man that I am sad to say I never heard of let alone had the pleasure of meeting— and I have been engaged in the Lansing scene for many years.

    This is perhaps a reflection of both myself and this insular town.

    Perhaps Dome could do a regular feature on significant leaders from various corners of the state that help make a difference, like Mr. Logan obviously did— and do so before they die.

  • 13 Alonzo B. // Jan 8, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    come to think of it……….. there are many folks in this town that have been dead for quite some time — and no one has let them know…..yet!

  • 14 Tim // Jan 9, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Very sad to lose good people when there is so very much good left to do in the city of Detroit, Lansing and entire state of Michigan.

    RIP Sam Logan.

  • 15 Greg Thrasher // Jan 11, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Sam,

    Was often intolerable and quite often myopic he refused to allow progressive Black writers as pundits for his publications..He pandered and appeased the ruling class quite often at the expense of the residents of the city..

    I respected Sam for the few times he did published my commentaries….Sorry he was no icon nor staint..

    RIP..SAM

  • 16 Tyrone // Jan 11, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    Greg Thrasher is back with his nasty, negitive, mean spirted commentary– and for a good man that has passed and is not here to defend himself.

    Have you no shame?

    If there was a thread on the commets from Greg Thrasher everyone would see he is a constant, small minded, mean person who constantly takes nasty and uncalled for cheap shots at good people in the city and state.

    It is a free country– and we have all kinds!

    Clearly, he never learned the lesson-from his momma—“if you dont have something nice to say ( especially about the dead) dont say anything at all.”

    God rest your soul– Sam Logan.

  • 17 chacanna // Jan 11, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    .. tyrone. thanks for saying what i thought.. tht guy is small minded.. if all his comentary is like that , no wonder he couldnt get things printed…

  • 18 Greg Thrasher // Jan 12, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    Tyrone,

    My moma never taught me to be a coward or to hide behind a pc and attack people…

    Sam as I noted had my respect but he was no staint if you knew him you would understand this truth about him.

    BTW you can read my commentaries on many sites:
    Voice of Detroit.net
    VoxUnion.org
    Planeideas.blogspot.com

  • 19 Linda // Jan 12, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Greg Thrasher
    There is a time and place for everything. Your opportunity to have issue with Sam Logan was when he was alive to respond if he so chose.

    No one has nominated Mr. Logan for Sainthood– certainly not Ms. Cain in this article. She obviously had a close professional realationship and respect him a great deal. She wrote a beautiful tribute to celebrate his life.

    I have read a few of your posts and you seem to do a good job of “hiding behind your PC and attacking people.”

    Get over yourself. You say you ” respected Sam the few time he published your commentaries” says it all. A tad bit egotistical dont you think?

  • 20 chacanna // Jan 12, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    .. shame on you mr.thrasher.. you obviously have no class. You dont pick on someone when they are gone

  • 21 Greg Thrasher // Jan 13, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    @Linda,

    Please practice what you preach in regards to lecturing to me about what is appropriate decorum. You have no idea about the nature of discourse Sam and I shared.

    BTW unlike you I do not post under a shorthand or alias I attach my real name to all of comments and posts in any venue or forum.

    Truth is Sam should have published more of my commentaries..

  • 22 Greg Thrasher // Jan 13, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    Chacanna,

    Sorry, but I don’t share you opinions of me or my comments about Sam.

    I provided Sam with the same respect now and when he was alive of course you don’t know this yet your lack of class is showing given your petty words about me…

  • 23 Chacanna // Jan 14, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    Mr. Thrasher: your words tell your story. So too Sam Logan’s.. Let the reader decide!

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