State Watch

Community delegates vote to rename Denver neighborhood named after KKK member

Members of a community board for Stapleton, a neighborhood within Denver’s city limits, voted Wednesday to rename the district, which is named after a former mayor of the city who was also a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

All 11 members of the Stapleton Master Community Association voted in favor of the name change. A new name for the neighborhood, located northeast of downtown Denver, has not yet been chosen.

Stapleton Master Community Association (MCA) confirmed the change on its website, pointing to the history of former Denver Mayor Benjamin Stapleton as “hurtful” to some community members.

“The current conversation regarding racism and social injustice has increased awareness and education within our community. It has become more clear that continuing with the current name is hurtful to many residents of all backgrounds and life experiences. As a community that aims to foster inclusivity, diversity and respect, maintaining the current name only serves to divide us,” reads a statement on the MCA’s website.

Stapleton served as Denver’s mayor between 1921 to 1931 and again from 1935 to 1947, and is known historically for having won his first election with covert support from the KKK. While in office, he appointed several Klansmen to city government positions including chief of police. 

He previously served as the city’s postmaster, appointed by former President Woodrow Wilson, and helped found the Veterans of Foreign Wars association.

“Social change, this type of social change, is about people making the right choice. And I think that our MCA is making the right choice,” the president of the MCA’s board of directors told the Denver Post in an interview ahead of Wednesday’s vote.

The vote comes as Denver and Stapleton in particular have been the site of protests against police brutality and racism, which have erupted similarly in cities around the country following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis police custody. 

Tags Benjamin Stapleton Colorado Denver George Floyd George Floyd protests

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