Erasing Stapleton’s name wouldn’t address today’s segregation

Wednesday, 15 November 2017, 07:56:30 AM. This debate about a name is a proxy battle for the much more difficult question: how do we as a city deal with the lasting segregation of our communities and schools?
Stapleton, Denver’s huge and growing master-planned subdivision, is in the throes of a difficult debate about race and segregation and Colorado’s historic ties to the Ku Klux Klan. The brownfield redevelopment in the far northeast corner of the city is dogged by the perception that it was developed for and marketed to upper-middle-class white Americans when the abandoned airport became a subdivision in the mid-2000s. Driving that perception is the fact that the community is significantly white yet surrounded by historic neighborhoods that are, or are close to being, minority majority. Stapleton’s two largest census tracts are 82 percent white, according to 2015 U.S. Census Bureau estimates. Just across the street, west of Quebec, the neighborhood is 51 percent white. The entire city of Denver is about 76 percent white. Could the name of the community itself be perpetuating the divide? Probably not. But there’s no denying former Denver Mayor Benjamin Stapleton was the type of deplorable politician willing to hitch his career to a racist band of hooligans able to get him elected — and today’s president makes it hard to pass up an opportunity to smack down such a legacy. Not only was Stapleton a member of the Ku Klux Klan in 1923 when he was first elected mayor, but once in office he bowed to pressure from the Klan to appoint its pick for police chief. When Stapleton survived a recall effort, the Klan burned a cross on the top of Table Mountain to celebrate. How did such a man...Read more
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