ABOUT

ROCHELLE RILEY

Rochelle Riley is Director of Arts and Culture for the City of Detroit. Appointed by Mayor Mike Duggan to lead efforts to attract funding and talent to the city, she is charged with building on Detroit’s vibrant creative sector and shaping the city’s investments in arts and culture. She also will advocate for opportunities for one of the most inventive and resourceful artistic communities in the world. The author, essayist and arts advocate ended a nearly 20-year stint in May 2019 as a columnist for the Detroit Free Press, where 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” (Wayne State University Press, 2018) and the upcoming “That They Lived: Twenty African Americans Who Changed The World.” (WSU Press 2020). She travels the country with “The Burden,” speaking at libraries, churches and universities about the burden that America still bears because it refuses to deal with the aftermath of slavery. Rochelle also is a co-founder of Letters to Black Girls, a project that grew from a single presentation to a national mission to pass words of encouragement from black women to girls. She makes frequent television and radio appearances, including on National Public Radio and MSNBC, WDIV-Local 4 and Fox2.  Rochelle is a national and global traveler who has been to 32 states and 28 countries – and counting. 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. (Watch her acceptance speech here). She lives near the banks of the Detroit River where she and her 16-year-old dog, Desi, walk daily to watch the sun rise.  

Our home page cover art is a Rochelle Riley photo of a handcrafted bowl designed by Centurium Frost of Centurium’s Creations.