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Rochelle Riley

Director, Arts and Culture City of Detroit

Rochelle Riley is an author, essayist, and arts advocate who just ended a nearly 20-year stint as a columnist for the Detroit Free Press. There, she was a leading voice for children, education, competent government, and race.

She is author of “The Burden: African Americans and the Enduring Impact of Slavery” and the upcoming “That They Lived: Twenty African Americans Who Changed The World.” She travels the country with “The Burden,” speaking at libraries, churches, and universities about the burden that America still bears because of its refusal to deal with the aftermath of slavery. Riley is also co-founder of Letters to Black Girls.

She makes frequent television and radio appearances, including on National Public Radio, MSNBC, WDIV-Local 4 and Fox 2. She has won numerous awards, including two National Headliner Awards (2019 and 2004), the 2017 Eugene C. Pulliam Editorial Fellowship from the Society of Professional Journalists, and the 2017 Ida B. Wells Award from the National Association of Black Journalists.

Riley was a 2007-2008 Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan, where she studied online communities and film. She was a 2016 inductee into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame and a 2019 inductee into the N.C. Media and Journalism Hall of Fame.