By Brian Stone
DEARBORN, Mich. – Sen. Morris W Hood III, who was Dearborn’s state senator for 8 years from 2010-2018, has passed away due to complications related to COVID-19.
Dearborn City Clerk George Darany, who served in the state house of representatives at the same time Hood was representing Dearborn in the senate, said that he feels the loss deeply.
“I was very saddened to hear of the passing of Morris. He was a true gentleman and a champion for those less fortunate,” said Darany. “Morris spent a lot of time in my office as we often talked about bills we were working on, and pushing in our respective chambers.”
Darany said that he felt Hood was always looking out for him and for Dearborn in the senate. One time, when a Republican senator plagiarized a veteran’s bill that Darany had crafted, Hood stood up and called the senator out for stealing Darany’s bill and taking credit for someone else’s ideas.
“Morris always had my back! And I would do everything I could to help him. He was a true friend,” said Darany. “I will miss him greatly, but will never forget him or his kind words.”
Gary Woronchak also had fond memories of interacting with Morris Hood III during their time in the legislature.
“My final term in the House was Morris’ first, and since we both represented Dearborn, we had common interests and developed a friendship through our working relationship,” said Woronchak. “Me being a Republican at the time didn’t impede that for a moment.”
As Woronchak reflected on his time spent with Hood, one memory stood out for him in particular.
“It was the last day of my last term in the House, we were waiting around for some bills to get resolved, so we all gathered in a front corner of the chamber and started singing Christmas carols. I remember Morris vividly from that singalong. I had a photo of it and I’ve been digging around for it all day. It may be gone, but it’s filed in my memory. And a good one, at that,” said Woronchak.
The Hood family has a long history in the Dearborn community and serving Michigan as a whole.
Both Morris Hood III’s grandfather and father served as delegates to the Democratic National Convention from Michigan, and Morris Hood jr., Morris Hood III’s father, served in the state legislature representing Detroit’s 21st, 6th and 11th state house districts from 1971-1996.
Famously, Morris’ grandfather was President of UAW Local 600 during the time of Mayor Orville Hubbard. Hood Sr. wrote a letter advocating for a housing project to be built by the John Handcock insurance company because it offered an opportunity for African Americans union members that worked at the Dearborn Rouge Plant to live nearby.
Hubbard got a copy of the flyer and reprinted it, sending it all over Dearborn in what is known as one of his most famous and racist pro-Segregation campaigns to stop the housing project. While Hubbard won that fight even after the federal government tried to stop him, the next generation of Dearbornites got to reconsider those choices.
The fact that Morris Hood III, the grandson of that union leader, would later come to represent Dearborn in the Michigan Senate is a testament to both the social and economic upward mobility of African Americans. Senator Hood’s success, and the fond memories of many Dearbornites who got to know Hood, shows one of the many ways Dearborn has changed since the time of Hubbard, whose statue now sits ignominously by a parking lot with a description of his segregationist past on the epitaph.
Senator Hood won numerous awards for his legislative works, and during his time in the Michigan Senate helped funnel millions of dollars towards Dearborn’s schools, roads and libraries.