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Cliff Russell
  • Male
  • Detroit, Michigan
  • United States
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  • Oliver Askia
  • Kyzale Moore
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  • Gerlma A. S. Johnson (Jeri)
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  • Sam Chaltain

Cliff Russell's Page

Profile Information

First Name:
Last Name:
Detroit, Michigan
School/Organization Name:
Drew Academy
Job Title:
My Story:
Cliff Russell (full name Clifford Alan Russell) has been a fixture in Detroit-area media for more than 30 years. His career as a radio reporter, news anchor and talk-show host has taken him to an extensive list of local stations, including WJR, WDET, WJZZ, WCXI, CKLW, WWJ, WCHB, WQBH and WDTR. Russell has won numerous local, state and national awards for his news reporting, feature reporting and commentaries. While at WWJ, Russell entered the world of sports broadcasting, becoming the commentator/analyst for the station’s University of Michigan Basketball broadcasts during the famed “Fab Five” era. His television work includes news reporting and serving as host of “Detroit Black Journal” on WTVS – Channel 56. He has made regular television appearances on various local programs, including WTVS’s “Week in Review” and currently can be seen on CBS-TV’s “Michigan Matters.” In 1994, Russell became Detroit’s first African-American Press Secretary to the Mayor, having been asked to serve in that position by Mayor Dennis W. Archer. Russell was a full-time lecturer at Wayne State University and was a weekly columnist at the Detroit Free Press for two years. Russell is especially proud of having worked as the building substitute teacher at Post Middle School in Detroit during the 1986-87 school year – while also holding down a full-time position as a radio news reporter. Ten years after his stint as a Detroit Public Schools substitute teacher, he was named General Manager of the DPS-owned radio station WDTR – 90.9 FM. He was subsequently appointed to the position of media specialist and spokesperson for the entire school district. In 2001, Russell was selected by his alma mater as the play-by-play announcer for the inaugural season of Wayne State University basketball and football broadcasts on WQBH – AM 1400. He also returned to WWJ Newsradio 950 as a news anchor and was a talk-show host on WQBH. In December 2002, Cliff Russell was named Senior Director of Communications for the Detroit Tigers, the first African-American to hold the position in Major League Baseball history. He has served as Dean of Students at Detroit Community High School. Currently, Russell hosts American Black Journal on Detroit Public Television.

Cliff Russell was a four-sport athlete and two-time all-state basketball player at Roeper High School before attending the University of Texas at El Paso and playing for Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Coach Don Haskins. Russell later transferred to Wayne State University where he starred for two seasons under Coach Vern Payne. Russell was inducted into both the Roeper High School Athletic Hall of Fame and the Wayne State University Athletic Hall of Fame.

A native of Detroit, Russell graduated from Wayne State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcast Communications. He is married and the father of six children, three boys and three girls.
My Ideal School is a Place Where:
All stakeholders - students, teachers, administrators, staff, parents and community members - feel safe and welcome as they collectively learn and grow
My Religious Views:
Jesus Christ is exactly who he said he is
My Political Views:
Staunchly Independent
My Favorite Freedom:
There are three: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of the Press
My Personal Heroes:
My Parents, Paul Robeson
My Personal Motto:
You can't make sense out of nonsense.
My Favorite Journey:
Other than my journey through life, my 2005 trip to all the civil rights sites in Tuskeegee, Birmingham, Montgomery, Selma and Decatur, Alabama.
Recommended Reading:
Capitol Hill in Black and White, Here I Stand, The Bible
Recommended Web sites:
Michigan Historical markers
"We are trapped in a history we've never understood because we've always lied about it." paraphrase of James Baldwin quote

Comment Wall (3 comments)

At 7:03pm on September 18, 2008, Gerlma A. S. Johnson (Jeri) said…
Hi Cliff!

Welcome to the network. I hope that you are finding this academy as enlightening as I did. I am reminded how proud I am of your credentials, and your commitment to the First Amendment (particularly Freedom of the Press). Thank you again for agreeing to be a part of this awesome enterprise.
At 7:05pm on September 18, 2008, Gerlma A. S. Johnson (Jeri) said…
Oh yeah ~ don't forget to join the McCormick Fellows group :-)
At 8:43pm on September 18, 2008, Sam Chaltain said…
now THAT is a picture!

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