The Return of Orville Hubbard, and Why History Matters

At the end of March, 2017, a statue of Orville Hubbard, former mayor of Dearborn, Michigan, quietly returned to public view on the lawn of the Dearborn Historical Museum, just in time for his 114th birthday.

The city initially removed the statue from sight in September of 2015, nearly two years before last month’s assault against American heritage and history swept through our southern states.  Hubbard, who served as mayor for 36 years, had been openly and unashamedly “segregationist,” prompting a local “Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee” to demand City Hall get rid of that “racist relic.”  The man and his statue serve as a perfect example of why people need the very history they desperately seek to erase.  Those clamoring for the removal of this former Michigan mayor’s statue number among an increasingly vehement group of myopic revisionists who insist upon distorting leading figures of the past through the skewed lens of the present.

What they fail to realize is that back in Hubbard’s day, segregation constituted a perfectly valid point of view, one considered a normal, valid perspective and not indicative of deep-seated hatred or soulless evil.  Clearly, over time, those opposed to segregation won their battle in both the halls of legislature and the courts of public opinion.  Still, when Orville Hubbard first took the oath of office as mayor in 1942, not only was segregation perfectly normal, it was upheld by law and formed the everyday order of society.

Often we picture segregation ending in the United States sometime during the 1950s, largely due to the landmark case of Brown v. the Board of Education (1954).  Likewise, we often picture the sociopolitical atmosphere of the 1970s as more like that of the 1990s.  Yet only after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did an end come to all state and local laws requiring segregation.  Social turbulence and uprising in the late 1960s still included racial tensions sparked as a direct result of those changes.

The 1970s were not so far removed from ongoing racial tensions, conflicts and debates as we might imagine today.  Enforced busing, designed to make the new interracial ideal an unavoidable reality, did not commence until the 1970s.  Prince Georges County in Maryland, one of the largest such undertakings, began in 1974.  The word “black” did not even replace “Negro” as the term preferred by black Americans until 1974.1  “Negro History Week” did not become “Black History Month” until 1976.2 By comparison, Hubbard’s two-generation tenure as mayor ended in 1978, after a proxy served out the remainder of his final term due to a stroke he suffered in 1974.  The entire duration of his service to Dearborn unfolded in an era when segregation was not a dirty word, and ended before “white flight” reactions got quelled by a swiftly encroaching chill of political correctness on the subject.

Hubbard’s quoted comments on segregation read like a basic argument for freedom of association. He disavowed racism, stating plainly that he did not hate or “even dislike” black people, but that if whites and blacks do not wish to live among each other in close proximity, they should not be forced into doing so.  Such a simple distinction of liberty seems lost on those who initially called for removal of his statue, just as it is today for the vapid cheerleaders of blind globalism, who worship at the altar of a relentless stream of immigration, demanding the removal of any and all reminders that the critical developments of American history came from white men, some of whom were wealthy, some of whom had slaves, some of whom were southern and fought for states’ rights.

Ironically, Hubbard’s vision of a voluntary, de facto segregation (separation) had plenty in common with what Malcolm X advocated for attaining the goal of independent strength and success in black communities:

“This new type of black man, he doesn’t want integration; he wants separation. Not segregation, separation. To him, segregation … means that which is forced upon inferiors by superiors… We don’t go for segregation. We go for separation. Separation is when you have your own. You control your own economy; you control your own politics; you control your own society; you control your own everything. You have yours and you control yours; we have ours and we control ours.”3

The Detroit Free Press refers to the Dearborn of today as being a city Orville Hubbard, who died in 1982, would no longer recognize.4  Citing its current predominantly Middle Eastern population, the writer inadvertently puts his finger solidly on the real issue and plague spot here.  Perhaps it is not so much that white Americans today are “racist” as it is they are simply tired of having nowhere left to go in America to just be American anymore.


1 “When Did the Word Negro Become Taboo?”, Slate, 2010, http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2010/01/when_did_the_word_negro_become_taboo.html.
2 “When Did the Word Negro Become Taboo?”, Slate, 2010, ibid.
3 X, Malcolm. “The Race Problem.” African Students Association and NAACP Campus Chapter. Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan. 23 January 1963.
4 McGraw, Bill, “Orville Hubbard statue goes back on display in Dearborn,” Detroit Free Press.
http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/wayne/2017/03/31/orville-hubbard-statue-dearborn/99867074/
Rynne McCoy-Cowham
is old enough to remember when children played outdoors and clean, safe neighborhoods existed for middle-class families. She enjoys deep caverns of history and mystery, long walks through critical analysis, semi-annual retreats to the Mojave desert, and freely spreading “red pills” across the internet. Rynne serves as Director of Information Technology for The Revolutionary Conservative.