History Colorado Highlights Black History, Native American Art, and the Work of John Fielder in February
DENVER (January 30, 2024) — In recognition of Black History Month, History Colorado will highlight the ongoing contributions of Colorado’s Black communities through events as well as ongoing projects in February and beyond. These offerings include discussions of historically Black communities, exhibitions focused on the Black experience, and community gatherings which set the groundwork for History Colorado to better share the histories of Black communities as we showcase the important contributions Black Coloradans make every day.
Black History Events and Series:
Blaxplanation Event Series
History Colorado’s Blaxplanation Series tells “Black History, From the Black Perspective, Beyond Slavery” through events designed to celebrate and expand our understanding of the Black experience in Colorado and explore stories of the Black diaspora. Reclaiming its name from the Blaxploitation genre of the 70s, this program addresses racist and discriminatory understandings of Black life while focusing on the contributions and achievements of the Black community with local, national, and international impacts.
Blaxplanation events are generally free and open to the public and feature an array of opportunities —from film screenings to recreational activities— that center community conversations about the accomplishments of the Black community past, present, and future.
History Colorado Museum of Memory- Whittier Neighborhood | Denver, CO Ford-Warren Branch Library | February 17, 1 – 4 p.m.
History Colorado’s latest Museum of Memory project highlights the Whittier Neighborhood. This event is the next in a series of workshops designed to engage, collect, restore, and commemorate the histories of the Whittier Neighborhood community. Facilitated by History Colorado’s Engagement Manager for Black Communities, Terri Gentry, and the Ford-Warren Library, this event allows former and current Whittier Neighborhood community members to share their experiences and inform this public history project. Participants are encouraged to bring up to 10 photos to share with the community and to scan into History Colorado’s Collection.
Ongoing Black History Offerings
In addition to its February programming, History Colorado has a number of ongoing projects, programs, and exhibitions that elevate Black voices year-round. This includes:
Mountain Haven: Lincoln Hills, 1925–1965 exhibition in Colorado Stories at the History Colorado Center, which explores a Rocky Mountain haven where African Americans could hike, fish, and camp—and leave discrimination behind
The Dry: Black Women’s Legacy in a Farming Community exhibition at the History Colorado Center, which looks at the little known history of The Dry, a predominantly Black farming community in southeast Colorado, and the legacy of the powerful women who built and sustained this close-knit community
Ongoing research into African American Travel sites in the Centennial State using an Underrepresented Community Grant from the Historic Preservation Fund administered by the National Park Service
Beyond its exhibitions, History Colorado has a number of online resources, publications, and podcast episodes that explore the Black experience in the Centennial State. Here’s an overview of some of those materials:
The Black History and Heritage Webpage is dedicated to highlighting the contributions made by people who identify as Black, African-American, or generally part of the African diaspora, as it relates to the history of the West
The Black History Trail on the History Colorado App, highlights the African American experience in Colorado through both virtual and in-person guided experiences of various historical stories that trace Black history in Colorado from pioneer days to modern times
The Klu Klux Klan Ledgers webpage includes the complete digitized copies of two KKK membership books, as well as a number of online articles covering aspects of Black Coloradans’ historical and ongoing struggle for equality
Lincoln Hills: Escape from Racism explores Black history in Colorado from before the Civil War through the Civil Rights Movement
History Colorado’s critically acclaimed podcast, Lost Highways: Dispatches from the Shadows of the Rocky Mountains expands the history of the American West by exploring how overlooked stories from the past have shaped current world events and continue to impact our lives today and includes a number of episodes focused on important Black history
“The Dearest Field,” which tells the story of a predominately Black homesteading community that sprung up on Colorado’s eastern plains in the aftermath of the Civil War
“Game Changers,” is a special episode of Lost Highways celebrating the 100th anniversary of Negro League Baseball and the little-known role Colorado played in integrating our national pastime
“A Lynching in Limon,” chronicles one of the most horrifying racial terror lynchings in U.S. history that took place in the small town of Limon on the Eastern Plains
“The Original BlacKkKlansman,” explores the story of Dr. Joseph Westbrook, who infiltrated the KKK in the 1920s in an effort to protect the thriving Five Points community in Denver
“Busted: The Case of the Denver Police Department,” looks back at the origins of policing in America through the lens of the Denver Police Department, how their role in communities has transitioned over time, what happens when they abuse their power, and the long struggle for change
“You Don't Know Barney Ford” discusses the resiliency of Barney Ford, who came West in search of gold, owned and operated hotels and restaurants, lost them in fires, rebuilt them, and enjoyed a reputation as a King of hospitality in early Denver, Breckenridge, and Cheyenne, Wyoming
New Exhibitions Danielle SeeWalker: But We Have Something to Say | Denver, CO History Colorado Center | Opening February 29, 2024 Danielle SeeWalker: But We Have Something to Say is a vivid exhibition that pairs the contemporary Native American art of Danielle SeeWalker (Standing Rock Sioux Tribe) with historic objects to explore issues important to Native American peoples and communities while also making visitors reconsider their preconceptions of Indigenous art. Featuring SeeWalker’s vibrant color palettes, expressionistic art strategies, and Lakota traditions, But We Have Something to Say creates a dynamic conversation between striking nineteenth-century hair ornaments, beaded spoons, historic documents and images, and moccasins in ways that illuminate censored and erased histories – creating on-ramps into complicated historical topics like assimilation, displacement, and erasure.
Flow: On the River with John Fielder | Denver, CO History Colorado Center | Now on View! Flow: On the River with John Fielder at the History Colorado Center focuses on the many uses and importance of the Colorado River. This exhibition takes visitors inside majestic canyons and atop the most awe-inspiring vistas along the Yampa, Gunnison, and Dolores Rivers as they flow toward their confluence with the Colorado. Flow: On the River with John Fielder features a number of iconic large-format Fielder prints as well as quotes from the renowned landscape photographer gathered carefully from his publications and interviews over the years.
Bold Women. Change History. Presents - Postcolonial Love Poem and People: a Reading Circle and Conversation | Denver, CO Center for Colorado Women’s History | February 1, 8, 15, 1 – 3 p.m.
Join the Center for Colorado Women’s History, as well as facilitator and artist Franklin Cruz, for a reading circle and discussion of the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) “Big Read in Denver” title of the year: Postcolonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz. Each of these standalone workshops represent an opportunity to take part in a guided reading and reflection about postcolonial living in a modern era and practices of decolonializing in advance of Diaz’s lecture for Bold Women. Change History. in April of 2024.
For those interested in participating, there are several ways of picking up a free copy of Postcolonial Love Poem, including through distribution centers like the History Colorado Center. For additional information on how to receive a copy, what the NEA “Big Read” is, or to reserve your free spot, please visit the event listing here. Have any questions? Please contact Cat Jensen at email@example.com.
Film Screening - Big Fight in Little China | Boulder, CO
Boulder Embassy Suite | February 1, 7 – 9 p.m.
Join History Colorado for an enlightening evening at Boulder Embassy Suites as the State Historical Fund hosts a special screening of the compelling documentary Big Fight in Little Chinatown by acclaimed filmmaker Karen Cho. This event, part of the Saving Places initiative, goes beyond a film screening and includes a vibrant 45-minute post-discussion with a diverse panel of experts. Dive into the heart of communities battling against urban erasure and gentrification, and learn about the pressing need for cultural preservation in the face of modern challenges. Click here to RSVP for this crucial conversation about equitable heritage preservation and community resilience.
Trinidad History Museum Coffee & Conversation | Trinidad, CO Trinidad History Museum | February 2, 8 – 10 a.m.
Join the Trinidad History Museum’s interim site manager at the Bloom Mansion on the first Friday of each month at 8 a.m. for free coffee, tea and conversation with your neighbors. These monthly gatherings provide space for community gathering and a chance for the community to share ideas, questions, and memories while enjoying the splendors of the historic Bloom Mansion!
OLLI Class Series: Passport on a Plate: France's Greatest Wine Regions; Italy, South America | Fort Garland, CO Fort Garland Museum & Cultural Center | February 5 & 12, 1 – 3 p.m.
Travel with Chef Larry Canepa on a visual, culinary tour of ltaly, France, and South America. Learn about Italy's incredible monuments, fascinating history, artistic masterpieces, centuries-old architecture, and the renowned cuisines of Rome, Florence, and Venice. Explore the prestigious wine regions of France, including Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Loire Valley. Hear about world-famous wines, vineyards, elegant gardens, gorgeous chateaux, lush landscapes, fine produce, cheeses, and magical recipes. Finally, fly down to South America to sample the cuisine of Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, and the mysterious Lima, Peru, where South American cuisine blends African, Spanish, and Portuguese cultures and foods to present travelers with unforgettable culinary experiences.
Participants of this free class will meet on site at the Fort Garland Museum & Cultural Center to participate in this interactive Zoom Class.
Meet the Collection: J.J. Brown, Molly's Other Half | Denver, CO History Colorado Center | February 6, 2 – 3 p.m. Tickets ($5-$7) and additional information available here.
Join author Jody Pritzl in the Stephen H. Hart Research Center at the History Colorado Center to discuss her new book, Gold-Fated Family: J.J. Brown–Husband of Unsinkable Margaret "Molly" Brown. The author of five books and a trained docent at the Molly Brown House Museum, Pritzl culled through 15,000 documents including unpublished letters and court transcripts to write Gold-Fated Family. Pritzl will discuss her research process, tell us how she used History Colorado's Stephen H. Hart Research Center to uncover the untold story of the husband of one of Denver's most fascinating women, and share some of her favorite items from the collection.
Vecinos Community Coffee | Fort Garland, CO Fort Garland Museum & Cultural Center | February 8, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Fort Garland Museum & Cultural Center invites you to join them for warm beverages, good platica, and a conversation with neighbors. This is a free event to provide space for community sharing and gathering. This event is located in the Mess Hall at Fort Garland Museum with parking and an entrance available at the rear of the building.
Family Yoga Class | Fort Garland, CO Fort Garland Museum & Cultural Center | February 9, 5 – 6:30 p.m. Tickets ($5-$10) and additional information available here.
The Fort Garland Museum & Cultural Center is proud to offer a monthly Family Yoga Class that is open to all ages and abilities. Class will take place in the museum's Mess Hall while parking and entrance for this event will be located at the back of the museum. Participants are welcome to bring their own equipment but yoga mats will be available. Use promo code YOGA1 when purchasing tickets online to get your first class FREE!
Movie & Art Night | Pueblo, CO El Pueblo History Museum | February 9, 5 – 8 p.m.
Unleash your creativity with the El Pueblo History Museum! Join us to paint a one-of-a-kind masterpiece that will be displayed at the Museum! Afterwards, stay and enjoy a showing of the captivating animated film, "Soul." This is a free event but RSVP is required as space is limited.
For the Love of Love Tea and Valentines Collaging | Denver, CO Center for Colorado Women’s History | February 10, 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Tickets ($30-35) and additional information available here.
Celebrate love with a partner, friend, family member, or any loved one at For the Love of Love Tea and Valentine’s Collaging event! These identical tea events are offered at 10:30 a.m. or 12:30 p.m. and include a docent-led tour of the historic house followed by an hour and a half-long tea seating, during which guests are invited to create Valentines collages. All crafting materials will be provided for the Valentines collages and refreshments include sweet and savory courses from local and woman-led business Miss Peabody’s Southern Tea Cakes alongside our museum’s signature Lady Lavender black tea with citrus, vanilla, and bergamot.
Valentine's Collaging Pop-Up! | Denver, CO Center for Colorado Women’s History | February 13 & 14, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Join The Center for Colorado Women’s History for a free Valentine's Collaging Pop-Up! Visit the museum anytime between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on February 13 or 14 to create something for yourself or a special someone. All collaging materials are provided and tickets or RSVP are not required. Please contact Cat Jensen at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
OLLI Class Series: The Wonders of Colorado's Glacial Landscape | Fort Garland, CO Fort Garland Museum & Cultural Center | February 15, 22 & 29, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Join the staff at Fort Garland Museum & Cultural Center for this interactive zoom class inspired by the manuscript of a new book on the fascinating features and landforms found in Colorado's glacial landscape. The culmination of a three-and-a-half-year journey, this class includes a potpourri of some of the more interesting glacial, periglacial, proglacial, and paraglacial features you can explore on jaunts around Colorado.
Participants of this free class will meet on site at the Fort Garland Museum & Cultural Center to participate in this interactive Zoom Class
Book Club | Trinidad, CO Trinidad History Museum | February 17, 10 a.m.– 1 p.m.
Join the Trinidad History Museum’s Book Club for a discussion about February's book-of-the-month: Colorado Madams by Michael Rutter. Hosted every other month, the Trinidad Book Club comes together to talk about a book set in or related to Colorado (but varied in genre and theme). To sign up for this month’s conversation, or to learn more about Book Club, please contact Millie at email@example.com or at (719) 846-7217.
History Buff Day | Denver, CO Center for Colorado Women’s History | February 17, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
History Colorado’s iconic mascot, Billy the Bison, invites you and your family for a day full of exciting games, crafting, and exploring! Using your free History Buff membership, you’ll have access to the Center for Colorado Women’s History as well as kid-centered activities to celebrate History Buff Day. This event is free with general admission (and members like History Buffs are free), but plan on RSVPing in advance.
Have a Colorado fourth grader who isn’t a History Buff member yet? Sign up here for your free membership– granting you (and five other people) access to all History Colorado locations around the state!
Rosenberry Lecture: Con Men and Klansmen: Denver 100 Years Ago | Denver, CO History Colorado Center | February 21, 1 & 7 p.m.
Award-winning journalist Alan Prendergast discusses the archival reporting that went into his book Gangbuster: One Man's Battle Against Crime, Corruption, and the Klan. A narrative nonfiction account of Denver District Attorney Philip Van Cise's battles with organized crime and the KKK in the 1920s, Gangbuster is an epic conflict that still resonates today. A book signing will follow both the 1 & 7 p.m. talk and tickets ($5-$15) are still available.
Meditation to Start Your Week with Urban Sanctuary | Denver, CO Center for Colorado Women’s History | February 25, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. Tickets ($1-$15) and additional information are available here.
The Center for Colorado Women’s History invites you to an enriching meditation offered in partnership with Urban Sanctuary, Denver’s first Black women-run wellness studio located in the historic Five Points neighborhood. This event includes an empowering guided 30 minute meditation in the historic house by practiced Urban Sanctuary facilitators to help you start your week with intention. Afterwards, guests are encouraged to enjoy cups of our revitalizing museum signature Lady Lavender tea with citrus, vanilla, and bergamot.
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 144-year-old institution that operates eleven museums and historic sites, a free public research center, the Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation which provides technical assistance, educational opportunities, and other access to 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 10 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. #HistoryColorado