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Stamps gains first African-American mayor

Stamps gains first African-American mayor

Brenda Davis hopes to help city by improving streets, bringing in a grocery; early part of term marred by recent vandalism

October 20th, 2017 by Jim Williamson in Texarkana News
Brenda Davis is the first African-American mayor of Stamps, Ark. Davis served as a city council member prior to being named as the mayor.

Brenda Davis is the first African-American mayor of...

Photo by Evan Lewis /Texarkana Gazette.

Brenda Davis became the first African-American mayor of Stamps, Ark., on Sept. 19. Days later, two tributes to the town's African-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 black Confederate soldiers 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 no known worldwide lived in Stamps, Ark., as a child.

The Arkansas Historic Commission 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.

Anyone with information about the thefts is urged to call Stamps City Hall at 870-533-4771 or the Stamps Police Chief Jeff Black at 870-533-4991.

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 eough to do that," Davis said. The town's population has fallen from 2,000 to about 1,600 residents.

Davis said she first wants to "clean up the abandoned houses and improve the vacant lots. The streets need repaving."

"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 grocerites or go to Lewisville about 5 miles away. We have a lot of senior citizens, and that's difficult for them," Davis said.

"A grocery store in Stamps would be a life-saver," she said.

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