In Memory of Senator Carl Levin

posted Jul 29, 2021

In Memory of Senator Carl M. Levin

June 28, 1934 – July 29, 2021

Watch The Heart of the Matter: A Conversation With Senator Carl Levin.

Carl_Levin_official_portraitCarl Levin, respected by colleagues and political opponents alike for his diligent approach to public service, appreciated the importance of understanding of history—especially Michigan history. In fact, he made his own history during a remarkable career. He became the longest serving United States Senator representing Michigan, capping his 44 years in public office with 36 years in Washington, D.C.

Levin, who died on July 29, will also be remembered as a friend of the Historical Society of Michigan (HSM), the nonprofit, nongovernmental organization whose mission is preserving and promoting Michigan history through a variety of education programs. He donated his collection of historic Michigan maps to HSM after his retirement. A conversation between Levin and Rick Wiener, a friend and also an HSM Trustee, was a keynote presentation at the March 2021 Michigan in Perspective: Local History Conference.

The Senator had to be convinced to talk about himself and his accomplishments, but he did so near the end of his life in his autobiography entitled “Getting to the Heart of the Matter.” The stories he shared with conference attendees were often humorous, but also illustrated his focus on issues important to Michigan, such as protecting the Great Lakes.

Levin was born and raised in Detroit and served on its City Council, including being Council president. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1978 as a Democrat and retired in 2015. In a Senate full of showhorses, Levin was a workhorse. He chaired both the Armed Services Committee and the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. He led in-depth inquiries into the 2008 financial crisis, money laundering, and tax avoidance. He had the ear of Presidents, but really cared most about what he could do to help Michiganders.

On Levin’s retirement, the late Republican U.S. Senator John McCain put it this way: Carl Levin “is the model of serious purpose, principle, and personal decency…”

Levin took the time to speak with Richard Wiener, a member of the Historical Society of Michigan’s Board of Trustees, at our virtual 2021 Michigan in Perspective: Local History Conference. The two discussed Levin’s career, life, and more in an intimate and in-depth discussion. We have uploaded this recording to share with Michiganders, friends, and family in memory of Levin’s enduring Michigan legacy.

Watch The Heart of the Matter: A Conversation With Senator Carl Levin.


Historical Society of Michigan 7435 Westshire Dr., Lansing MI 48917
Email | Phone (517) 324-1828 | Fax (517) 324-4370

Designed by MATRIX and hosted by H-Net
Martrix logo