Black History in Colorado

Museums/Exhibits

Black American West Museum: “The emphasis of the museum’s collection is the contribution of black cowboys, ranchers, farmers, miners and buffalo solders on the development of the West.”

El Pueblo History Museum: “El Pueblo History Museum showcases the region’s many cultural and ethnic groups through innovative exhibits.”

Fort Garland Museum: “Fort Garland was once commanded by legendary frontiersman Kit Carson and had a garrison of over 100 men who served to protect the earliest settlers in the San Luis Valley.”  Includes an exhibit on Buffalo Soldiers.

People

James Pierson Beckwourth:  Co-founder of Pueblo, mountain man, explorer.

Dr. Joseph Westbrook:  “Dr. Joseph H.P. Westbrook’s light complexion allowed him to pass for white, and at great danger and cost to his personal health, he attended Klan meetings and relayed their plots back to Denver’s black residents.”

Places

Dearfield, Colorado: “‘It was the most successful, best known, African-American farming community in the United States at the time,’ says George Junne, professor of Africana Studies at the University of Northern Colorado, and the resident expert on Dearfield.

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

George Junne, professor of Africana Studies at the University of Northern Colorado, has spent years digging into the town’s history.

“Starting in 1910, Dearfield began attracting hundreds of black homesteaders from across the South, the Midwest and the eastern portion of the Plains. They came for opportunity. At its height in the early 1920s, 700 residents lived in town, with churches, a school, a blacksmith shop, a dance hall and a restaurant. And nearly all of the residents were black.”

Boulder’s Historic Black Neighborhood:  Boulder’s Goss/Grove Neighborhood was once The Little Rectangle.  Read more about it.

Second Baptist Church, Boulder:  The Second Baptist Church was founded in 1908, initially out of the city’s Black community.  Read more about its long, strong, and proud history.

Organizations Promoting Social Justice

NAACP “The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.”  National page here.

Families of Color Colorado “Providing families of color with opportunities to express and share cultural values, struggles, and successes by connecting, exploring, and investigating.”

YWCA “YWCA Boulder County has been providing a continuum of vital services to the women, children, and families of Boulder for over 95 years. We are a welcoming human service agency that works with over 6,000 individuals annually.”

Multicultural Action Committee “The Longmont Multicultural Action Committee (LMAC) is a City Council–initiated effort that inspires Longmont residents to take individual and collective action to promote cultural understanding, inclusion, and involvement. LMAC was created specifically to address diversity-related issues in Longmont, with the goal of maintaining a welcoming community where everyone belongs.”

Showing Up for Racial Justice “Through community organizing, mobilizing and education, BSURJ moves white people to act for justice with passion and accountability.” National page here.

Southern Poverty Law Center “The SPLC is the premier U.S. non-profit organization monitoring the activities of domestic hate groups and other extremists.” Also: “Our Teaching Tolerance project combats prejudice among our nation’s youth while promoting equality, inclusiveness and equitable learning environments in the classroom.”

Sundown Towns in Colorado and Elsewhere

When Signs Said ‘Get Out’” article in Washington Post.

Man on crusade to expose Colorado’s racist property records: ‘This is so appalling!‘” Article on racist policies in Estes Park on the Denver Channel website.

Sundown Towns:  A Hidden Dimension of American Racism Website with extensive resources on the legacy of sundown towns in the United States.  Link to purchase book, link to database, links to current resources.

The Klan in Denver/Colorado

Colorado Experience:  KKK  Half hour documentary produced by produced by Rocky Mountain PBS and History Colorado on the KKK in Colorado. “From the Grand Dragon to known KKK appointees in the police, mayor and governor offices, Colorado once had the second largest Ku Klux Klan membership in the United States. Discover the sordid history of the KKK in Colorado and the impact they had on Catholics, Jews and African Americans in early 1920s, and the courageous individuals who fought against their establishment.”

When the Klan Ruled Colorado:  Not So Long Ago Short article at the Denver Public Library website on the KKK’s history in Colorado, with link to digital archives where users can find more pictures.  (The Western History Collection is a tremendous resource for all of Colorado’s history.)

Hooded Empire:  The Ku Kux Klan in Colorado Link to library listing for book on the KKK’s history in Colorado.  (Also available elsewhere, but the book is out of print.) A review of the book can be found here.

Colorado’s long history–and uncertain present–with the KKK and other hate groups” Article in the Denver post.

 

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