Top of page

Newspaper The Michigan Chronicle (Detroit, Mich.) 1936-Current

View All Front Pages

About The Michigan Chronicle (Detroit, Mich.) 1936-Current

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

About this Newspaper


  • The Michigan Chronicle (Detroit, Mich.) 1936-Current

Dates of Publication

  • 1936-current

Created / Published

  • Detroit, Mich. : Michigan Chronicle Pub. Co.


  • -  African Americans--Michigan--Newspapers
  • -  Detroit (Mich.)--Newspapers
  • -  Wayne County (Mich.)--Newspapers
  • -  African Americans
  • -  Michigan
  • -  Michigan--Detroit
  • -  Michigan--Wayne County
  • -  United States--Michigan--Wayne--Detroit


  • Newspapers
  • African American newspapers--Michigan


  • -  Weekly
  • -  Began in 1936.
  • -  Issue called: Emancipation Centennial ed., Feb. 9, 1963.
  • -  Also issued on microfilm by University Microfilms International; later issued by ProQuest, <2000->.
  • -  Also issued by subscription via the World Wide Web.
  • -  Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • -  Vol. 3, no. 42 (Jan. 14, 1939).
  • -  Vol. 72, no. 15 (Dec. 24/30, 2008).


  • volumes

Call Number/Physical Location

  • Newspaper

Library of Congress Control Number

  • sn83045324

OCLC Number

  • 2264134

ISSN Number

  • 1949-9620

Additional Metadata Formats


Rights & Access

The Library of Congress believes that the newspapers in Chronicling America are in the public domain or have no known copyright restrictions. Newspapers published in the United States more than 95 years ago are in the public domain in their entirety. Any newspapers in Chronicling America that were published less than 95 years ago are also believed to be in the public domain, but may contain some copyrighted third party materials. Researchers using newspapers published less than 95 years ago should be alert for modern content (for example, registered and renewed for copyright and published with notice) that may be copyrighted. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item and securing any necessary permissions ultimately rests with persons desiring to use the item.

The NEH awardee responsible for producing each digital object is presented in the Chronicling America page display, below the page image – e.g. Image produced by the Library of Congress. For more information on current NDNP awardees, see

For more information on Library of Congress policies and disclaimers regarding rights and reproductions, see

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

The Michigan Chronicle Detroit, Mich. -Current. (Detroit, MI), Jan. 1 1936.

APA citation style:

(1936, January 1) The Michigan Chronicle Detroit, Mich. -Current. Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

The Michigan Chronicle Detroit, Mich. -Current. (Detroit, MI) 1 Jan. 1936. Retrieved from the Library of Congress,