Maya Angelou: Nine Republicans refused to rename post office after ‘communist’

The vote passed in support of the award-winning poet and civil rights icon despite opposition from nine Republicans


Rachael Revesz
New York
Wednesday 02 March 2016 17:02 GMT
The Maya Angelou Memorial Post Office was not embraced unanimously
The Maya Angelou Memorial Post Office was not embraced unanimously (Getty Images)

Not all politicians were keen to rename a post office in North Carolina after Maya Angelou, one of the world’s most renowned black female poets, activists and wordsmiths.

During a not-so-busy day at Capitol Hill, the House voted to rename two post offices. One would be called “Medal of Honor” in California and the bill was passed unanimously 381-0.

The House then came to another post office in North Carolina and voted on whether to rename it after civil rights icon Ms Angelou.

In the vote taken on Super Tuesday, nine Republicans voted against the bill - but it passed anyway as 205 Republicans voted for it, alongside 166 Democrats.

The naysayers were Mo Brooks, Alaska; Ken Buck, Colorado; Michael Burgess, Texas; Jeff Duncan, South Carolina; Glen Grothman, Wisconsin; Thomas Massie, Kentucky; Alex Mooney, West Virginia and Steven Palazz, Mississippi. Don Young of Alaska voted present, as reported by NBC.

Ms Angelou won the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. Her works are widely taught in US schools and her face was put on a postage stamp after her death in 2014.

Republican Glenn Grothman said on the House floor, as reported by Huffington Post: “People should investigate Maya Angelou a little bit, and I'll suggest perhaps, if you want to investigate a little bit further, that perhaps you google Maya Angelou and look at other articles in places like the American Thinker or the American Spectator.”

Republican Andy Harris called the poet “a communist sympathizer.”

“His parents escaped communism and he feels that he cannot vote to name a post office in the United States in honor of someone who supported the communist Castro revolution in Cuba,” a spokesperson for Mr Harris told NBC. Mr Harris' parents were from Eastern Europe according to his website.

In a book on black internationalist feminism, Ms Angelou wrote: "Of course, Castro never had called himself white, so he was O.K. from the git. Anyhow, America hated Russians, and as black people often said, "Wasn’t no Communist country that put my grandpappa in slavery. Wasn’t no Communist lynched my poppa or raped my mamma.""

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