For 38 years, Detroit Local News icon Carmen Harlan provided a uniquely-Detroit perspective on the news that made her a local legend.
Born in 1953 in Northeast Detroit, Harlan got involved with important issues from an early age. In 1963, she marched with her parents, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., during the 1963 Detroit Walk for Freedom.
From there, she graduated from Mumford High School and earned her Bachelor degree in Speech at the University of Michigan.
During her time as a Wolverine, she also received training in her eventual calling: radio and television.
After a few years on the radio, Harlan transitioned to television in 1978, when she became a reporter at WDIV in Detroit. Shortly thereafter, she was promoted to anchor. She would remain in that position for 38 years.
She covered Nelson Mandela’s 1990 visit to Detroit, both of Barack Obama’s inaugurations, and 9/11, among countless other historical events.
When asked in 2016, she stated that the greatest moment of her career was carrying the Olympic torch–a duty which she fulfilled twice.
Now, four years post-retirement, Harlan is making waves in an area for which she was always praised: fashion.
The Carmen Harlan Collection features a number of garments, all based on the favorite blouse of her youth.
She wore that blouse until it was falling apart and needed to have it recreated.
Now, she has used her love for that blouse as an inspiration for a line of blouses that ” are sure to be the “go-to piece in any wardrobe!”
For International Women’s History Month, we salute Carmen Harlan: a legendary Detroiter who also exemplifies the meaning of “empowered woman.”