Plans are on hold for the controversial statue of a former mayor of Dearborn

Posted at 10:41 PM, Aug 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-22 23:15:37-04

A statue with a controversial past is at the center of debate once more in Dearborn.

Orville Hubbard was Mayor of Dearborn from 1948 to 1978. He was a known segregationist and his racial remarks have been at the center of controversy.

His statue was placed outside of city hall in 1989.  In 2015 the statue was removed.  Just this March, it was brought to the Dearborn Historical Museum, and it’s already been moved once, from the front entrance to the side of the building.

Tuesday, the board members for the Dearborn Historical Museum were set to vote on the wording of a new plaque describing the mayor, with plans to include his segregationist beliefs. 

Those plans were tabled when new information about the ownership of the statue came to light.

"I was just informed tonight that the city does not actually have a title to the statue,” said Jack Tate, the curator for the Dearborn Historical Museum.

It appears the Hubbard family may have ownership.
"I do believe it's our due diligence to allow them time to decide what they want to do with it,” said Tate.

The longer the statue sits without a plaque is frustrating some.

"I think controversial statues can certainly have a place in a museum, but they need to be a teaching tool. If you were to visit from Tuscaloosa, there's not so much as a name on that statue. If you don't already know who that is, you're not going to know the story or anything that they did for the city, good bad or otherwise,” said Andrew Kercher, the asst. chief curator for the Dearborn Historical Museum. 

There were no statue protestors present at the Dearborn Historical Museum’s meeting.

Members of the board want the city attorney to weigh in on who owns the statue.

A member of the Hubbard family told 7 Action News they are working closely with the museum and will make a decision soon.