He will earn a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in 1955 and a law degree from Northwestern University in 1961. Residing in Detroit in the early 1960s, Wahls will become a writer for the Michigan Chronicle and help to register blacks to vote in the South.
Active in the Republican Party, Wahls will become the first African-American candidate to vie for state attorney general in 1974. He will later be appointed to the Wayne County Circuit Court in 1975 and become a state Court of Appeals judge in 1982. An accomplished pianist, Wahls will tour in Europe with legendary vibraphonist Lionel Hampton.
After a bout with cancer, however, Wahls will join the ancestors in 1998 at age 66. During his homegoing service on November 30 held at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, Mayor Dennis W. Archer will point out: “Mike Wahls had a special spirit. He was a wonderful man, husband and father who gave unconditionally. His legacy will live on and inspire countless others.”
Ken Coleman, the author of On this Day: African-American Life in Detroit, is a native Detroiter and former news reporter. He served on the Detroit Charter Revision Commission. He lives in Detroit with his wife, Kim Trent, and their son, Jackson Coleman.