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  Remembering "Karen Hudson Samuels"

"Karen Hudson Samuels quietly departed this earth on February 9, 2021. She was born August 12, 1952 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the youngest of three children of the late Dr. Herman Hudson and Katherine Hudson. Karenís childhood was meaningfully shaped by living and traveling abroad and came to appreciate various countries, cultures, and people. Early in life, her family lived in Puerto Rico, followed by a short stint in Durham, North Carolina during the Civil Rights movement in the late 1950ís where she attended a segregated school and witnessed the sit-down strikes. Most of her teenage years were spent in Kabul, Afghanistan during the 1960ís where her father, Dr. Hudson, served as the Director of the English Language Program at Kabul University sponsored by Columbia University, long before the Taliban invasion and the war. While in Afghanistan, she had the opportunity to travel extensively to several countries in Europe, as well as, Pakistan, India, Iran, Hong Kong, and a class trip to Russia (the then Soviet Union).

"Upon returning to the United States, Karen completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Afro-American Studies and a Master of Science degree in Instructional Systems Technology both from Indiana University. While at Indiana University she became involved in various cultural initiatives, including the IU Soul Review, IU Choir Ensemble and the IU Dance troupe, all extensions of the Afro-American Studies Department, conceived and directed by her father, Dr. Herman Hudson. Karen was an avid reader of African American news, history, and culture. At that time, she called herself a ďnews houndĒ and continued to be so throughout her life.


Karen Hudson Samuels with husband Cliff Samuels enjoying only one of their many trips together, around the world. (Tiananmen Square in the city center of Beijing, China)

" Early in her professional career Karen landed her first job as an intern at the newly created television station, WGPR TV Channel 62 created by Dr. William V. Banks and supported by his organization, the International Free and Accepted Masons. It was to become the first owned and independently operated African American TV Station in the United States. After a short time, Karen was hired as its news anchor and eventually became the News Director. She also hosted Black Film Showcase, a weekly segment highlighting historic Black films. WGPR TV became the training ground and the launching pad for many young African Americanís in pursuit of careers in the media. WGPR TV closed its doors in the late 1990ís. Nearly 15 years later some of her close WGPR friends tossed around the idea of converting the old, vacant studio into a museum. Karen took the lead in this endeavor. She solicited support from the International Masons, the Detroit Historical Museum, and Wall Street Productions among many other contributors.

Karen subsequently learned how to create and sustain a museum. Karen also understood the value of relationships and sought and obtained support for the Museum through the Detroit Historical Society, and the Black Historic Sites Committee. After much effort and teamwork The William V. Banks Broadcast Museum was founded. Karen was its first Executive Director. She worked diligently to obtain both the Michigan Historic Designation for the Museum and shortly before her passing, the National Designation as a Historic Site. She was so excited and pleased that the Museum received this competitive and coveted designation. This was to become her final contribution to the Museum; however, efforts are being made to permanently honor Karen at the Museum and develop a scholarship in her name for aspiring students in the arts and media.

WGPR TV became bookends to Karenís professional career. Thatís where she started and where she ended her lifeís work. In the interim, she spent nearly 15 years at Ford Motor Company in their Training and Development Division. While at Ford she developed another group of lifelong friends often referred to as the Ford Family. They worked together, traveled together, hosted events and shared holidays together.

"On September 15, 1995 Karen married the love of her life, Clifford Samuels, Jr. Theirs was a magical love story, initiated by a match maker and good friend. They enjoyed 25 years of love, companionship, support, travel, and adventure. Cliff was one of her greatest champions and was intricately involved in providing technical and any other type of assistance needed to complete numerous projects at the Museum. Cliff was a calming influence in Karenís life; he helped keep her grounded and focused on what was important. Cliff also became a cherished member of the WGPR Family and the Ford Family.

"Karen was an active member of the National Association of Black Journalist. She was also the Chair of the Black Historic Sites Committee, an affinity organization of the Detroit Historical Museum. She was a regular contributor to the online news outlet, Tell Us Detroit. She was a longtime member of a multicultural book club, Las Companeras. Karen became known in the Detroit area as an outstanding journalist and remarkable cultural icon.

"Karen is survived by her loving husband, Clifford Samuels, Jr., her sisters, Brendon Hudson, Dr. Margaret Hudson-Collins, M.D. (Steven), cousins, Elizabeth Lyra Ross (John) and Cynthia Ross, Esq., her nephew, Dr. Carl Collins, D.O. (Caitlyn), her niece Katherine Collins and her two great nieces, Olivia and Brynn Collins, her brother-in law, Christopher Samuels and a host of many family and friends, most notably their Match Maker, Myrtle Brooks.

"In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that you honor Karenís dedication to Detroitís cultural landscape by contributing to the WGPR-TV Historical Society, 3146 East Jefferson, Detroit, MI 48207".

 

 

 

   
 
 

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