Angelo Henderson, left, talks with mayoral candidate Mike Duggan, right, and Pastor Keenan Knox on Henderson's radio show in 2013. (Todd McInturf / The Detroit News)
Remembrances of local radio icon Angelo Henderson spanned the city Sunday, from City Hall to church pulpits, as Detroiters mourned the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and community activist.
Henderson was best known locally as the host of “Your Voice With Angelo Henderson” on WCHB-AM 1200, one of Detroit’s most popular news talk radio shows, owned by Radio One Detroit. He died early Saturday at his Pontiac home. He was 51.
He was also the founder of Angelo Ink, a writing, speaking and media consulting firm.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan called Henderson one of Detroiters’ “strongest voices.”
“Few people have worked as passionately and tirelessly to improve this community than Angelo Henderson,” Duggan said in a statement. “Through his radio program, his ministry and his personal community service, everything Angelo did was meant to uplift our city and its people. In his time with us, he touched countless lives, including my own. My heart goes out to Angelo’s family and to the thousands of fans he considered family.”
Henderson was an associate minister at Triumph Church, where he also served as the director of evangelism and outreach.
“A giant tree in the forest of humanity has fallen,” said the Rev. Solomon Kinloch Jr., senior pastor of Triumph Church, in a statement released by the church. “Metro Detroit’s loss is now heaven’s gain.”
According to the church, Henderson joined in 2010 and coordinated evangelism and community outreach initiatives, including existing partnerships with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Forgotten Harvest and support groups associated with physicians from Detroit Medical Center and Community Network Services.
In the community and to those who loved him. Henderson was “larger than life,” said Raphael B. Johnson, who co-founded the Detroit 300 with Henderson as a way of assisting police in getting around the “no-snitch culture” in the city.
The organization grew to 5,000 people and helped the Detroit Police Department solve 11 major crimes until it was dissolved in 2012 when one of its leaders was killed.
Detroit political consultant Adolph Mongo described Henderson as a “great journalist who loved the city of Detroit.”
“He just didn’t talk the talk but he walked the walk. Angelo will be sorely missed by the community,” Mongo said.
Henderson was a print and broadcast journalist for 24 years. He served two terms as a parliamentarian of the National Association of Black Journalists and two terms as president of the group’s Detroit chapter.
Henderson worked at The Detroit News from 1989-95 and again for a couple of years in the early 2000s.
“He was a great friend to many of us and one of the premier journalists in the country,” said Jonathan Wolman, editor and publisher of The News. “Angelo was an insightful storyteller in his days here at The News and then at the Wall Street Journal before ‘retiring’ to his calling in the ministry. His radio broadcast on WCHB has been must-listening for anyone keeping track of events in Detroit,” Wolman said.
Henderson is the only African-American reporter to win a Pulitzer Prize for the Wall Street Journal. He won in 1999 for feature writing for his portrait of a druggist who is driven to violence by his encounters with armed robbery.
A year later, he was honored by Columbia University as one of the nation’s best reporters on race and ethnicity in America.
“He will always be remembered for that Pulitzer Prize, which inspired so many of us, and for the way his personality would light up a room,” said Richard Prince, a journalist and columnist who writes the journalism blog for the Maynard Institute.
Henderson was born in Louisville, Ky., to the late Ruby and Roger Henderson. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in journalism in 1985 from the University of Kentucky.
In 2005, he was inducted into the school’s Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame. He studied magazine publishing at Howard University in Washington, D.C., and leadership at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
In January, Henderson had surgery to repair a torn tendon in his knee after a fall. It was unclear if the surgery had anything to do with his death.
He is survived by his wife, Felecia, an assistant managing editor at The News, and their 20-year-old son, Grant.
Funeral arrangements are being handled by Swanson Funeral Home. Details are pending.