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Statue of segregationist former Dearborn mayor removed

Posted at 5:32 PM, Jun 05, 2020

DEARBORN, Mich. (WXYZ) — An old statue sparking a new debate in Dearborn has been removed again..

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“It looks like somebody welcoming someone into the city. Which would be nice and dandy, if he wasn’t the most well known segregationist in the north," said Amer Zaher with Dearborn for Black Lives, talking about the depiction of the late former Dearborn Mayor, Orville Hubbard.

RELATED: Dearborn statue controversy continues over history of fmr. Mayor Orville Hubbard

Hubbard's statue sat outside the Dearborn Historical Museum on Brady Street - it moved there in 2015 from the old Dearborn City Hall building on Michigan Avenue.

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This week, someone adorned the statue with a Black Lives Matter t-shirt, which had since been removed.

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“There was obviously an enthusiastic and justified activist who performed an act of solidarity, a non-violent protest who put a t-shirt on Mayor Hubbard. He deserved it," Zaher told 7 Action News.

*Photo Courtesy of Dearborn Historical Museum

Hubbard, who served fifteen terms as Dearborn's Mayor from 1942-1978, publicly supported segregation.

In 1965 the Michigan Civil Rights Commission got a court order to stop Hubbard from displaying racially-related news clippings.

Hubbard died in 1982.

Abed Ayoub, a Dearborn native and the policy director for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, called on the City of Dearborn to move the statue several years ago.

“There’s been an effort to have the statue removed for decades. There’s always been an understanding this mayor was a racist We’ve been fighting with the city for years to have that statue removed out of public view," he said.

Ayoub felt the 2015 move from old City Hall to the Dearborn Historical Museum was a half-win.

Both he and Zaher feel the statue represents bigotry, and should no longer be in the City of Dearborn.

“This city has become a city that’s a beacon of diversity, you know the largest Arab-American community. But you know, we still have a long tradition and sort of reputation of being hostile to the black community," Zaher said.

The large plaque outside the old City Hall building on Michigan avenue describes Hubbard's mayoral accomplishments and his military service, but says nothing of his racist views. There is information on his support for segregation on a plaque at the Dearborn Historical Museum however it sits behind the statue, and is just one sentence.

City of Dearborn spokesperson Mary Laundroche released the following statement Friday:

The Hubbard statue was commissioned through a private campaign and funded with donations, and the City has no record of it being gifted to the City, and so does not own it. The City was required to remove the statue from the former City Hall campus because it no longer owned the property the statue sat on. It later was placed at the Dearborn Historical Museum campus. For years, the Hubbard family has claimed ownership of the statue, and the City is supportive of that claim. The family has always expressed their intention of moving the statue outside of Dearborn, and it is our understanding that the move is imminent.

Zaher feels it can't be moved soon enough.

This Sunday at 2 p.m., there will be a protest outside of the Dearborn Historical Museum, calling for it's removal.

Action News has made calls to Hubbard's family for a comment, and has not yet been able to speak with anyone.

This is a developing story.