Established in 1910, Dearfield was envisioned as a self-sufficient agricultural community for African Americans following the principles of Booker T. Washington's "go back to the land" movement. This poster represents the dreams and aspirations of Colorado's African American community in the early 20th century. Although the town only lasted a short while, the dream of Dearfield still speaks to a desire to build better, more just communities.
The Dearfield poster represents the dreams and aspirations of Colorado's African-American community during the early 20th century. Dearfield was an amazing testament to the vision of a group of settlers determined to create their own self-sufficient community free of the prejudices that plagued the country. Although the town only lasted a short span of time, the dream of Dearfield still speaks to a desire to build better and more just communities.
Dearfield was an African-American agricultural colony established in Weld County in 1910. The town was envisioned as a self-sufficient community for African-Americans following the principles of Booker T. Washington's "go back to the land" movement. O. T. Jackson, an African-'American entrepreneur, worked with other African-American leaders in Denver to purchase land for the community. During the 1910s, the town grew to approximately 300 residents, including two churches, a school and a restaurant. There were plans to build a canning factory, sanatorium and college. It was seen as a national success, and drew visitors and colonists from around the country. According to an article in the 1917 'Southern Workman,' "No Negro of prominence now visits Colorado without paying a part of his visit to Dearfield." Both the downturn of the agricultural market after the First World War and the climate disaster of the dust bowl devastated the farmers of Dearfield. Only twelve residents were left in the community by 1940, with the rest of the citizens having to abandon the dream.
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