Ku Klux Klan Archives - Colorado Politics

Adam McCoyAdam McCoyDecember 13, 20173min4730

What’s in a name? While some people might hear Stapleton and think of the old Denver airport or the burgeoning Denver neighborhood, others cringe at its origins.

Named after the five-term Denver Mayor Benjamin Stapleton starting in the 1920s — and member of the Ku Klux Klan who helped position Klan members throughout city government —  some Denverites have in the past unsuccessfully tried to spur a name change. During the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s, the Klan had its hand in every pocket of state and city government, the Colorado Independent reports.

However, there’s promising movement for proponents of a name change. Signage was recently removed from the shopping center at East 29th Avenue and Quebec Street, though Forest City Stapleton Vice President Tom Gleason, the upscale infill neighborhood’s developer, downplayed any perceived significance, Denverite reports.

Community forums were also set up earlier this week to discuss a name change. They were hosted by Nita Mosby Tyler of the Equity Project, an expert in driving difficult conversations surrounding race and diversity. The meetings will “inform the next steps, but they won’t determine it,” according to Denverite.

The time might be right considering the national atmosphere and focus on removing symbols of our history with origins in racism. However, there are still residents on the other side of the discussion. Even the leaders behind the movement argue there are more important issues to tackle, as Denverite notes:

“Changing the name is more symbolic than substantive,” said Gregory Diggs, a leader in Rename St*pleton. “My personal position is that there’s a lot of more meaningful work that needs to be done on housing and programming and relationships and education than changing the name. But if people don’t want to change the name, how can that more substantive work be done?”



Adam McCoyAdam McCoyAugust 16, 20173min3977

A day after hundreds took to Denver City Park to decry white supremacy in the wake of violent protests in Charlottesville, Va., the City Council sent its own message of solidarity, opening its weekly meeting Monday with a statement and moment of silence. Many council members wore Black Lives Matter t-shirts.

Reading from a statement, Council President Albus Brooks said the board vehemently denounces white supremacy and bigotry.

“We stand in solidarity with the people of Charlottesville,” Brooks, who represent District 9 which includes Five Points, Elyria Swansea and lower downtown among other neighborhoods, said. “We also stand with black, brown, women, Jewish and LGBTQ folks in our city of Denver. We believe in inclusivity and equal opportunity for all people. We will fight racism at all costs. And we stand today with the city of Charlottesville.”

Violence erupted Saturday in Charlottesville leaving one woman dead and dozens injured after a car plowed into a crowd gathered in opposition to white nationalists, neo-nazis and members of the Ku Klux Klan protesting the removal of a Confederate statue.

In a series of Tweets Sunday evening, Councilman Paul Lopez, District 3, observed:

Councilwoman Stacie Gilmore, who represents District 11 encompassing Montbello, Parkfield, Green Valley Ranch, High Point and Denver International Airport, said hate will not be tolerated in a Tweet Sunday.

The City Council joined a long list of Colorado lawmakers and officials denouncing white supremacy and the violence in Charlottesville.

Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirMay 5, 20175min1500

…And, arguably, so did the Knights of Columbus — the national Catholic service organization that has championed the Italian explorer against a long-standing campaign to dump him from the holiday calendar.

As we last reported here, the group was prepping for a battle royal in the state House this week to defend Colorado’s Columbus Day as well as the honor of the son of Genoa who became the fabled discoverer of the Americas.

The Knights doggedly fought House Bill 1327, the proposal that would have repealed Columbus Day as a state holiday in Colorado, and in the end, the bill went down to defeat in the House Local Government Committee on Wednesday. Sponsored by Democratic state Rep. Joe Salazar of Thornton, the bill died after two members of Salazar’s own party on the committee voted with minority Republicans against it. It never even had to make the trip down the hall to the GOP-run Senate to meet its demise; Dems did the deed.

Salazar’s bill included an extensive legislative declaration citing historical accounts of mass killings and other barbarism by Columbus’s crew members during his expeditions to the New World. The Knights of Columbus pushed back, contending the mariner was the victim of revisionist history. The organization argues Columbus is just a scapegoat for all the calamities that befell native peoples following the European conquest and that he actually had warned his crew against the kinds of heinous acts now attributed to him.

And as we noted a few days ago, the Knights also contend the anti-Columbus Day campaign is itself suspect. They say long before the day was targeted by Native Americans, it was in the crosshairs of the nation’s original domestic terrorist group, the Ku Klux Klan. The Klan was anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant and anti-Italian, and it associated Columbus Day with those groups. The Knights of Columbus issued this public statement in advance of this week’s committee hearing:

Nearly a century ago, the Ku Klux Klan in Colorado targeted Catholics including Italian-Americans. One of the Klan’s tactics throughout the United States was the denigration of Christopher Columbus and the attempted suppression of the holiday in his honor. Last week, in a hearing tinged with offensive anti-Catholic overtones, the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee advanced a plan to ban Columbus Day in what its advocates call a “progressive” step. In fact, it is regressive as it takes us back to what the Klan outlined in the 1920s in order to promote ethnic and religious resentment and marginalize and intimidate people with different religious beliefs and ethnic backgrounds. We urge the swift rejection of this bill in any future hearings.

Although the day has been a federal holiday since 1937, it first became a state holiday in Colorado in 1905. It has been a bone of contention in Denver, with opponents of the holiday clashing with and blocking participants in the city’s annual Columbus Day Parade in some years. Last October’s observance was relatively peaceful, however; the parade went on without incident while opponents held a separate demonstration elsewhere.

While the state holiday remains in place, the Denver City Council voted last year to designate the day as Indigenous Peoples Day.