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The racist history of Albert Cobo, and the complicated push to rid Detroit of his name

Sep 8, 2017

The Cobo Convention Center in Detroit has hired a company to dive into the possibility of selling the center's naming rights.

Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley calls it "incidental good news" that 1950s-era Mayor Albert Cobo's name would be removed from the center should the naming rights be sold. Cobo was controversial in that his urban renewal plans displaced African Americans in Detroit – a lot of them.

Jamon Jordan, a historian and tour leader for the Black Scroll Network History and Tours, joined Stateside today to explain the situation and to answer this question: Who exactly was Albert Cobo?

Jordan said Cobo, who was Detroit's mayor from 1951-1957, ran on a platform of segregation, aiming to keep African Americans from living in predominantly white neighborhoods.

"A lot of the racism in the city of Detroit, particularly the racist political leaders in the city of Detroit, has been a hidden history," Jordan said. "[It] hasn't been talked about."

Jordan said historians today, alongside many pushing to rid Detroit of Albert Cobo's name, are trying to change that.

Listen above for the full story.

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