This week it was announced that Cobo Center, home of Detroit’s conventions, conferences, and large meetings (and at one time concerts) will soon be getting a name change. Originally named for Albert E. Cobo, mayor of Detroit from 1950 to 1957, the naming rights were bought by Chemical Bank. I can’t help but wonder where Chemical Bank acquired their name... It is said that changing the name will help eliminate part of Detroit’s racist past, I guess the best thing is that it’s generating discussion and bringing to light that for almost 70 years one of our most prominent places in the city has paid homage to a man who literally tore the city to pieces with a freeway system that destroyed African American communities such as Black Bottom and Paradise Valley.
For a great read on this topic I highly recommend WDET’s article:
Also, there’s currently a wonderful exhibit at the DIA celebrating the history of Black Bottom (said to have been named by the French for the dark soil present when they settled here); a great way to discover more about Detroit’s African American heritage during Black History Month.