Brenda Davis became the first black mayor of Stamps on Sept. 19. Days later, two tributes to the town's black American history were stolen.
"I have no idea why someone would do something like that. The tributes have existed for at least a year," she said.
The weatherized frame protecting a 2-foot square photo of Maya Angelou and a copper bust of b̶l̶a̶c̶k̶ ̶C̶o̶n̶f̶e̶d̶e̶r̶a̶t̶e̶ ̶s̶o̶l̶d̶i̶e̶r̶s̶ blacks who served as legislators in the Arkansas General Assembly during Reconstruction* were taken the weekend of Sept. 23-24 from their spots near the lake in Maya Angelou Memorial Park. The poet, author and civil-rights activist known worldwide lived in Stamps as a child.
The A̶r̶k̶a̶n̶s̶a̶s̶ ̶H̶i̶s̶t̶o̶r̶i̶c̶ ̶C̶o̶m̶m̶i̶s̶s̶i̶o̶n̶ Arkansas Historic Preservation Program* agreed to restore the statue, which should be completed in January, Davis said. It was attached to a pole and appeared to have had a chain on it, but "someone broke it off the pole and took it away," Davis said. Its estimated value is $2,000.
"I don't understand. 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," Davis said.
Davis, who served on the City Council for 17 years, is serving the unexpired term of Mayor David Ray Bright, who resigned. The term ends Dec. 31, 2018.
She wants to improve Stamps.
"This is something I've always wanted to try my hand at. I felt I could bring changes to the town and hopefully serve long enough to do that," Davis said. The town's population has fallen from 2,000 residents in 2000 to about 1,600 in 2010.
"I want to bring people together for a good purpose. One thing we need is a grocery store. We have to drive about 16 miles to Magnolia to shop for groceries or go to Lewisville about 5 miles away. We have a lot of senior citizens, and that's difficult for them," Davis said.
*CORRECTION: The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program has agreed to replace a marker at Maya Angelou Memorial Park in Stamps that commemorates blacks who served as legislators in the Arkansas General Assembly during Reconstruction. A previous version of this story from the Texarkana Gazette misidentified those commemorated by the marker and the name of the agency that is replacing the marker.
Metro on 10/23/2017
Print Headline: Stamps hopes to replace stolen black monuments