A longtime civil rights leader on the Coast said he was appalled at Rep. Steven Palazzo's vote against naming a post office for Maya Angelou.
The name change for the post office in Winston-Salem, N.C., was approved by the U.S. House 371-9 but Jackson County NAACP President Curley Clark said Palazzo's vote reinforced Mississippi's negative image.
"I sadly hate to say this, but when our leadership takes those type of positions, it's just a validation of the racist-type of attitude that people outside of Mississippi think our leadership still holds," Clark, who's also second vice president of the Mississippi NAACP Conference of Branches.
Palazzo said he voted no because of Angelou's support of Cuban President Fidel Castro.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
“Some of my colleagues had expressed concerns about Angelou’s support of Cuban President Fidel Castro," Palazzo said in an email. "After hearing their concerns, I didn’t feel it was prudent to vote for the post office bill at this time, especially after supporting the Medal of Honor post office.”
The House voted 381-0 to name a post office in Camp Pendleton, California, the “Camp Pendleton Medal of Honor Post Office," Palazzo said.
"For him to take that position is a slap in the face of the thousands of people who knew what contributions Maya Angelou made to uplift this country," he said. "I find it troubling that a person may find one thing in another person's life that they disagree with and that trumps the thousands of things that person may have done that were good. The positive contributions Maya Angelou made in her lifetime far exceeded any of the things that may have been questionable."