With the story now reprinted in a local news site, DeadlineDetroit.com, and word of the mayor’s move starting to go viral, the attempt to bury the report is gaining far more attention than it ever would have originally.
And it is putting back in the spotlight a town that has had to deal with the legacy of not only Henry Ford but long-time Mayor Orville Liscum Hubbard, an avowed racist who helped keep most blacks out of the city during a 36-year reign that ended in 1978. Dearborn now has one of the country’s largest populations of Lebanese and other Middle Easterners.
O’Reilly won re-election by a wide margin, many crediting his efforts to cope with Dearborn’s dark history. Among other things, O’Reilly moved a statue of Hubbard off a main thoroughfare and into the historical museum’s back lot. Some residents now question whether his decision to censor the Ford issue was motivated by other concerns.
Headquartered in the suburb just outside of Detroit, Ford is Dearborn’s biggest employer. Some 4,100 work at the sprawling Rouge Assembly Plant complex alone with thousands more at Ford’s world headquarters, technical center and other facilities within city limits.
The presence of the automaker and the family that still controls it can be felt everywhere in civic life, as well. There’s the massive Henry Ford Museum, the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center, even Fordson High School.
Laundroche insisted that the mayor “made (his) decision in the interest of Dearborn and without discussing it with the Ford Motor Co. or Ford family.”