Telling “Black History, From the Black Perspective, Beyond Slavery.”
History Colorado Launches Season Two of its Blaxplanation Program
DENVER — January 24, 2023— On January 28, season two of History Colorado’s Blaxplanation series launches with a goal of telling “Black History, From the Black Perspective, Beyond Slavery.” This year’s series features compelling events such as a film screening of the award winning documentary The Holly, intimate conversations on gang violence, an exploration of the historic Five Points neighborhood, and a discussion of Black representation in pop culture.
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Reclaiming its name from the Blaxploitation genre of the 70s, Blaxplanation addresses racist and discriminatory understandings of Black life while exploring the history of Colorado’s Black diaspora and centering the contributions and achievements the Black community has made—and continues to make—to our society.
“Too often, the history of the African diaspora, specifically here in Colorado, has been eliminated, white washed, ignored, or relegated to slavery followed by the Civil Rights movement,” said Dexter Nelson II, History Colorado’s Associate Curator of African American History and Cultural Heritage. “This series gives History Colorado a platform to educate, entertain, and fully express the significant contributions the African diaspora has had in the West.”
Pioneered by Nelson II, this series is part of larger efforts by History Colorado to combat white supremacy through contemporary collecting initiatives, diverse programming, and innovative thinking. Through series like Blaxplanation History Colorado is expanding the understanding of both Black history, and breaking new ground on the role museums can play in communities.
Blaxplanation 2023 Event Schedule:
A Conversation about Gang Violence in NE Denver | Denver, CO
History Colorado Center | January 28, 1 - 5 p.m.
Join History Colorado’s Blaxplanation team for a film screening of The Holly: Five Bullets, One Gun and the Struggle to Save an American Neighborhood, followed by a conversation to discuss current and past efforts to curb gang violence and how capitalism and racism create oppressive systems that affect certain communities more than others. This discussion will be moderated by History Colorado and feature producer donnie l. betts (lowercase is intentional), director Julian Rubinstein, and the film's subject, Terrance Roberts. This free event is sponsored by the NAACP, and open to the public but RSVP is required.
A Community’s Response to Gang Violence in NE Denver | Denver, CO
History Colorado Center | April 1, 2023, Time TBD
Today North East Denver hosts a thriving Black community with Black-owned businesses, restaurants, and a nationally recognized research facility in the Blair-Caldwell Library. However, in the early 1990s, the area was a hotbed of gang activity particularly following the “Summer of Violence” in 1993. This event continues the important conversation on gang violence started at the January screening of The Holly: Five Bullets, One Gun and the Struggle to Save an American Neighborhood and explores the ever-evolving and omnipresent conversation about historic and contemporary actions to curb gang violence.
Tickets to this free event, which is sponsored by the NAACP, will be available through the Blaxplanation webspage closer to the event.
Walking Tour: Welton Street & Five Points | Denver, CO
Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library | June 9, 10 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Tickets ($40) will be available on the Blaxplanation webpage closer to the event
Join Terri Gentry, History Colorado’s Engagement Coordinator for Black Communities and a 4th generation Black Coloradan, in a historical and personal tour of the historic Five Points neighborhood. Known for its rich history and cultural diversity, this neighborhood emerged from the community of Black artists, servicemen, families, and entrepreneurs in a time when Black people were intentionally excluded from neighborhoods and public spaces.
Tour goers will also have a chance to sample the cuisine of Five Points from one of its Black-owned restaurants while connecting with the rich history of the neighborhood and exploring how it has evolved and changed while still holding tight to its spirit of celebrating the essence of Blackness and Black culture.
Friday Foster, Then and Now: Movie Screening and Discussion | Denver, CO
Sie FilmCenter | August 18, 2023
The Blaxplanation team has partnered with Denver Film to explore the series namesake in this discussion of the Blaxploitation film era of the 1970s and host a screening of Friday Foster! Born from a 1970’s comic strip of the same name, this film features Blaxploitation film star, and Colorado resident, Pam Grier, as an ex-model turned photographer who finds herself in the middle of a plot to assassinate the world’s richest Black man.
Hosted at Sie Film Center, this free community event includes a facilitated discussion with Christopher Marlon, editor of Friday Foster: The Sunday Strips, which explores the contributions of the Black community to pop culture and the film industry. Additional information about this event and tickets for it will be available on the Blaxplanation webpage closer to the event.
Additional information about History Colorado’s resources related to Black History can be found here.
About History Colorado
History Colorado is a division of the Colorado Department of Higher Education and a 501(c)3 non-profit that has served more than 75,000 students and 500,000 people in Colorado each year. It is a 143-year-old institution that operates eleven museums and historic sites, a free public research center, the Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, and the History Colorado State Historical Fund (SHF), which is one of the nation’s largest state funded preservation programs of its kind. More than 70% of SHF grants are allocated in rural areas of the state. Additionally, the offices of the State Archaeologist and the State Historic Preservation Officer are part of History Colorado.
History Colorado’s mission is to create a better future for Colorado by inspiring wonder in our past. We serve as the state’s memory, preserving and sharing the places, stories, and material culture of Colorado through educational programs, historic preservation grants, collecting, outreach to Colorado communities, the History Colorado Center and Stephen H. Hart Research Center in Denver, and ten other museums and historic attractions statewide. History Colorado is one of only six Smithsonian Affiliates in Colorado. Visit HistoryColorado.org, or call 303-HISTORY, for more information.