Black History Monuments Stolen After Town Elects Black Mayor

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One of the monuments celebrated poet Maya Angelou, a native of Stamps, Arkansas. The incident took place as soon as the town's first black mayor took over.

Maya Angelou being kissed by President Barack Obama.

The toppling of two monuments celebrating African-American figures in Arkansas proves that racism is alive and well in America.

Just days after Brenda Davis, an African-American woman, took over as the first black mayor of Stamps, Arkansas, two monuments honoring historic black figures were snatched.

One monument honored three pioneering Arkansas lawmakers, two of whom were born slaves, and went on to represent Lafayette County in the state legislature. The second monument was a temporary plaque celebrating a Stamps native: Maya Angelou, the great poet and civil rights activist.

Davis was allegedly disturbed by the terrible incident.

“I don’t understand,” Davis said. “I don’t know if it’s a message because I’m the first African-American woman as mayor. It makes you wonder, but I wouldn’t speculate.”

When talking about the incident to HuffPost, City Hall Clerk Laurie Gaines addressed the notion the town electing its first black mayor may have something to do with the theft.

“She’s a black female, the first in this town’s history,” Gaines said. “We don’t know if that had anything to do with the theft, but that’s just an odd thing to happen because they’ve been out there, the permanent one had been out there for maybe a year, or a year and a half.”

As the Arkansas Historic Commission works to replace the stolen monument, which should cost about $2,000, police are investigating the thefts, which occurred between Sept. 22 and 24.

Until a culprit is caught, it’s easy to see how many African-American folks in Stamps, Arkansas, may feel like these acts of vandalism are direct attacks against them and the new mayor.

Still, it’s impossible to deny — regardless of whether the monuments are returned or not — African-Americans and their roles in history will never be erased by hateful bigots.

Banner and thumbnail image credit: Reuters/Jonathan Bachman

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