The mayor of Detroit, Mike Duggan, is trying to change the name of the Detroit convention center, home to the Detroit Auto Show. The convention center was built in 1960 and named after Albert Cobo, who was the mayor of Detroit in the early ‘50s. Unfortunately, Cobo was also a huge racist and campaigned against what he called the “Negro Invasion” of white neighborhoods. Not content with segregation, he was also responsible for the demolishing predominantly African American neighborhoods including Black Bottom and Paradise Valley. This act alone displaced over 8,000 residents and cleared out hundreds of small businesses to make way for private development.
Some argue that the current push from the mayor is politically motivated as he seeks re-election and is trying to leverage the current sentiment across the United States to remove legacy icons of an oppressive past. Frankly, that’s what politicians should do: respond to popular demands for change. No matter the reason, we agree that the name of one of the most iconic automotive show venues in the world should be changed to reflect a more progressive time, especially for an industry that’s going through massive changes. Besides this is a great opportunity to attract renewed interest in auto shows with a catchy title.