June 4, 2014 at 8:32 am

Angelo B. Henderson: From journalist to minister, activist used his voice to help Detroiters

Michiganian of the Year: Angelo Henderson
Michiganian of the Year: Angelo Henderson:

Angelo B. Henderson began his career as a newspaper reporter and ended it as a radio talk show host, minister and community activist. Along the way, he made Detroit a better place to live and empowered its residents.

His popular “Your Voice with Angelo Henderson” midday show on WCHB-AM was a staple for local and national listeners, providing them a platform to discuss issues affecting Detroit and the rest of the country.

Fed up with exploding crime and attacks on Detroit’s elderly, women and children, Henderson in 2010 co-founded the Detroit 300 citizens patrol group, credited with providing information to Detroit police that led to criminal arrests and bringing a sense of relief to some crime-ridden neighborhoods.

“Angelo Henderson used his microphone to express his passion and his ministry. The depth of his commitment to the community was evident every single day he broadcast his show,” said Kathy Stinehour, vice president and general manager of Radio One Detroit.

“He created ‘Your Voice’ to give the citizens of Detroit a platform from which they could express opinions, share viewpoints and empower the community. People will not forget that booming voice and infectious laugh that brought so much love and light into our lives every day.”

Henderson, 51, died Feb. 15 at his Oakland County home. He was survived by his family and a grateful community.

“Angelo was a journalist who went from covering Detroit’s problems to mobilizing the community in pursuit of solutions,” said Nolan Finley, Detroit News editorial page editor. Last December, Finley asked Henderson to kick off a week-long op-ed series on issues affecting the city. His story, which focused on the impact of crime on residents, was titled, “Detroit Crime: When Is Enough Enough?”

Henderson began his journalism career writing for the college newspaper at the University of Kentucky. After working at several newspapers across the country, he was hired by The Detroit News in 1989 as a business writer and columnist. In 1995, he moved to the Wall Street Journal to cover the automotive industry and write Detroit-based enterprise stories.

While serving as the Wall Street Journal’s Detroit deputy bureau chief, Henderson won a Pulitzer Prize — journalism’s highest honor — in 1999 for his compelling narrative about a Detroit pharmacist who killed a robber during a holdup at his west-side business.

Shortly after returning to The News in 2002, Henderson answered a new calling: ordained minister. He left journalism in 2004 and devoted his life full time to the ministry as an associate pastor at Hope United Methodist Church in Southfield. At the time of his death, Henderson was community outreach director for Triumph Church, with campuses in Detroit, Southfield and Northville. He used his collaborative personality and spiritual gifts to connect nonprofits with the needs of church members and the community.

Henderson’s lively sermons applied Scripture to the problems of everyday life. Those who knew him said he practiced what he preached — whether it was leading marches with Detroit 300, having city officials respond to his radio listeners’ concerns, or feeding the needy.

“Maya Angelou said, ‘A great soul serves everyone all the time. A great soul never dies. It brings us together again and again.’ This perfectly describes Rev. Angelo Henderson and how the life he lived continues to shine despite his short time on Earth. Triumph Church is thankful to have been able to work alongside and experience Rev. Angelo personally,” said the Rev. Solomon Kinloch Jr., pastor of Triumph Church.

Oralandar Brand-Williams

Angelo Henderson / Todd McInturf / The Detroit News