Thursday, August 22, 2019

Detroit's Cobo Center, named after a segregationist mayor, will finally, officially be renamed next week

Posted By on Thu, Aug 22, 2019 at 10:19 AM

  • alisafarov /

Detroit's Cobo Center will be no more — in name, anyway.

TCF Bank, which bought the naming rights for the convention center back in February, will reportedly make it official official with a news conference and community block party on Tuesday, Aug. 27, according to Crain's Detroit Business.

The name change comes at a time when racist monuments across the country are being reconsidered, especially following the "Unite the Right" white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., which coalesced around the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee.

Of course, we don't have monuments to the Confederacy here in the north. (Except for certain Confederate flag-waving idiots, that is.) But we do have Cobo Center.

One of the nation's first large convention centers, the center formerly known as Cobo Hall was completed in 1960. It was named after former Mayor Albert Cobo, Detroit's mayor from 1950 to 1957, who ran on a segregationist platform and destroyed African-American neighborhoods. Good riddance to those four red letters.

It's kind of a shame TCF Bank couldn't get their shit together faster, though. Since the name change was announced, but before the name change became official, Cobo Center hosted a number of events that, well, it would have been better if they weren't held in a venue named after a segregationist — including a pro-Trump "Build the Wall" rally in March and the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People’s 110th National Convention in July.

In TCF Banks's defense, they were in the middle of a $3.6 billion merger with Chemical Financial Corp. We've never merged two multibillion-dollar companies before, but we're sure it's a lot more complicated than it looks.

Of course, the rename is not just about being politically correct. TCF bought the 22-year naming rights from the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority for $33 million, or $1.5 million annually. The convention center will likely be called TCF Center.

The news conference is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Tuesday in front of the convention center, followed by a community block party from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. There will reportedly be free food, face-painting, games, and live musical performances by the Temptations, Your Generation, and the Selected of God Choir.

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