Duggan considers renaming Cobo Center amid national debates over racist symbols


  • Mikerussell, Wikimedia Creative Commons
  • Cobo Center.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is reportedly considering renaming Downtown Detroit's Cobo Center.

The move comes amid a a national debate about racist monuments and symbols following the recent clash over a Confederate monument in Charlottesville, Virginia.

In Detroit, you won't find any monuments to the Confederacy, but there has been mounting backlash of controversial statues in recent years, including Dearborn's Orville Hubbard and Christopher Columbus in downtown Detroit.

But then there's also downtown Detroit's Cobo Center — named after the controversial Albert Cobo. Detroit's mayor from 1950-57, Cobo advocated racially charged housing policies that negatively affected African-Americans, including demolishing the Black Bottom and Paradise Valley neighborhoods.

Crain's reports that Duggan has been in talks to rename the convention center "as soon possible," according to spokesman John Roach. According to Duggan chief of staff Alexis Wiley, Duggan had been considering renaiming Cobo Center before the events in Charlottesville.

The Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority is currently pursuing naming rights for the convention center in anticipation of a state subsidy ending in 2023. That said, parties involved point out that there are currently no solid plans for naming rights, which they are trying to sell for $500,000 a year, according to Crain's.

In a Free Press column published today, Rochelle Riley called for the convention center to be renamed after boxer Joe Louis. The nearby Joe Louis Arena is set for demolition following the Red Wings' move to the new Little Caesars Arena next month.

We’re keeping you informed…
...and it’s what we love to do. From local politics and culture to national news that hits close to home, Metro Times has been keeping Detroit informed for years.

It’s never been more important to support local news sources. A free press means accountability and a well-informed public, and we want to keep our unique and independent reporting available for many, many years to come.

If quality journalism is important to you, please consider a donation to Metro Times. Every reader contribution is valuable and so appreciated, and goes directly to support our coverage of critical issues and neighborhood culture. Thank you.