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Group Seeks To Rename Stapleton, Mayor For Which It Was Named Rumored To Be Klansman

STAPLETON, Colo. (CBS4) - A Denver group wants to rename the Stapleton neighborhood, claiming it has racist connotations.

The people behind the movement say the name Stapleton is for former Denver Mayor Benjamin Stapleton, who served in the 1920s. They call him a Klansman.

However, many residents who saw the flyer tell CBS4 they've never thought of Stapleton as a negative name.

Stapleton neighborhood
(credit: CBS)

For many people in Denver's Stapleton neighborhood, remains of the city's former airport give an otherwise new community context and history.

"For us it's never been about any individual person, it's been about the airport and the history of the airport," said Brenae Plain.

The group Black Lives Matter 5280 wants people to know that for some, the name is uncomfortable, and harkens back to a time when Denver's rumored KKK Klansman former mayor Benjamin Stapleton ran the city.

"Maybe this is our confederate flag for Colorado or for Denver. It reminds of us of a past, of a time where people were more obviously or directly oppressed," said Bianca Pullen, a spokeswoman for the group.

They posted the thousands of flyers that turned up on the doorsteps and front porches of neighbors on Sunday, and ask anyone offended by the name to sign a petition.

"We would like to not have a constant reminder of that past," said Pullen.

stapleton flyer
(credit: CBS)

The group hung the flyers on the same day hundreds gathered to remember Michael Brown, a black teenager shot and killed by a white police officer in Missouri last year.

People in Stapleton reacted with mixed feelings.

"I think there's a lot of justifiable anger out there, this to me feels like somebody who is trying to capitalize on that," said Nick Massie.

"People should know and they can form an opinion, but I don't think going as far as changing the name is really that important," said another resident.

CBS4 reached out to both Stapleton area City Councilman Christopher Herndon and Mayor Michael Hancock about the petition; Herndon did not respond and a spokesperson for the mayor declined to comment.

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