By Melissa Garcia
DENVER, Colo. (CBS4) – Concerned community members gathered at a room in Stapleton to talk about whether the name of the neighborhood should be changed.
Stapleton, built on the old Stapleton Airport, has a name that dates back to 1923. That’s the year in which Benjamin Stapleton was first elected as Denver’s mayor. Historians said Stapleton did a lot for the community but was also a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
Denverites weighed in on the name of the east Denver neighborhood after a panel of historians versed crowd members on the KKK’s history.
Although lines full of men wearing pointed hats and dressed in white from head to toe marching down Larimer Street is no longer a common occurrence, segregation still is, said Shyretta Hudnall, a Denver native.
“I’m adamant about the fact that we have to teach the history. But I also feel like it’s something that we can’t lower over people’s heads as a source of control,” said Hudnall, who attended the discussion.
Patty Limerick, Colorado’s state historian organized the panel dialogue.
“I do not have in any way a sense that anyone who has the name Stapleton now is responsible for the doings of the 1920s,” she said of the conversation.
While Hudnall wanted to be a part of the dialogue, not everyone does.
According to a survey by Stapleton United Neighbors, about 54-percent of Stapleton residents were not interested in the name change discussion. The poll also showed more than 51-percent of residents were at least somewhat comfortable with the name Stapleton, while about 10-percent were completely uncomfortable with it.
“This isn’t a name that we want our children to be attached to as they grow up,” said Jacqueline St. Joan, a member of the leadership team for Rename Stapleton for All. “People forget what the real history of Stapleton was, and instead attach it to their own personal lives.”
Organizers Saturday encouraged attendees to reach out to people who expressed disinterest in the topic, one that is not over.