On this day in 1978, attorney and political strategist Robert L. Millender, Sr. joined the ancestors.
He was 61.
The Chicora, Mississippi native was a driving force behind the first generation of successful African-American politicians in Detroit.
Millender, a Northwestern High School and Detroit College of Law graduate, served as campaign manager for John Conyers, Jr. in 1964 during his first U.S. House win, and helped George W. Crockett, Jr. become one of the first African-American Recorder’s Court judges in 1966. Millender also managed winning races for City Council members Robert Tindal in 1969 and Erma L. Henderson in 1972.
He ran Richard H. Austin’s 1969 mayoral campaign and his 1970 successful candidacy for secretary of state. Perhaps Millender’s most impressive effort was serving as campaign manager for Coleman A. Young during his 1973 historic and successful run for mayor of Detroit.
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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.