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Tiny Arkansas town to dedicate park for Angelou

June 19, 2014

STAMPS — Stamps has approved a plan to dedicate its only park in honor of the small Arkansas town's most famous former resident, the late poet Maya Angelou.

The Stamps City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to dedicate the park for Angelou who died May 28. Angelou lived in Stamps as a child, but she was later critical of the town in her acclaimed autobiography, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings."

In the book, Angelou said Stamps was known for "droughts, floods, lynching and deaths" and that the segregation was so prevalent that most black children didn't "absolutely know what whites looked like."

Stamps Mayor David Bright said after Angelou's death that the town hadn't honored the poet because of her "unflattering" portrayal of the area. But Bright told the media on Tuesday that he proposed the plan after receiving an "outpouring" of letters and calls asking for a memorial to Angelou.

"Three weeks ago, I was worried about trash pickup and stray dogs. When she passed away, everything just snowballed and it has evolved so fast," Bright said. "I had so many calls. I knew somebody was going to do something and if the city didn't get in front of it, it was not going to look good for the city. Something should have been done years ago."

The city plans a ceremony soon to officially dedicate the park.

 

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