Celebrating Black History Month in Colorado and beyond

Jan. 31, 2023
Tuskegee airmen pose in front of their plane's propeller in Alabama in July of 1945. From left to right, standing, Hubert L. Jones, John W. Mosley, George H. O'Martin and from left to right, kneeling, Mitchell Greene, John Bruner, and Keith I. Stanigan. Photo courtesy of Denver Public Library Special Collections.
Tuskegee airmen pose in front of their plane’s propeller in Alabama in July of 1945. From left to right, standing, Hubert L. Jones, John W. Mosley, George H. O’Martin and from left to right, kneeling, Mitchell Greene, John Bruner, and Keith I. Stanigan. Photo courtesy of Denver Public Library Special Collections.

February marks Black History Month, a time to celebrate the achievements and contributions of Black people. You can join in celebrations in your community or take advantage of excellent online programs all month long.

AAA Colorado recommends visiting these 8 great places in Colorado to honor the history and legacy of African Americans in Colorado. And the National Park Service has a lesson plan for each day in February to enhance learning.

In nearly every region in Colorado, there are multiple opportunities to celebrate.


  • Check out this list of activities complied by Visit Denver, the city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau.
  • The Denver Public Library offers great opportunities to learn about Black History Month in February. One branch of the Denver Public Library, the Blair Caldwell African American Research Library,is devoted to African American research and offers a multitude of ways to explore Black history during February and all year long.
  • The Denver Center for the Performing Arts highlights many ways to celebrate Black artists and events throughout the Denver area.
  • The Denver Nuggets are remembering Bernie Bickerstaff during Black History Month.

Colorado Springs

The Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, which is free to the public, is proud to share Black history every day in multiple exhibits.

Black History Series: Legacy Matters & the Art of History

The museum is also hosting: “Black History Series: Legacy Matters & the Art of History.’’ In this lecture, local history and poetry are presented by Juanita Stroud Martin and Ashley Cornelius. A vocal performance is provided by special guest Peggy Shivers. “Legacy Matters. Tell Your Story–Everybody Has a Foot Locker” is presented by Juanita Stroud Martin. Sharing family history is an invaluable means of passing on to coming generations the skills, values, dreams and strengths that previous generations employed to overcome obstacles to success. The Stroud family of Colorado Springs exemplifies this strategy.

“The Art of History” is presented by Ashley Cornelius. Poetry has always been a way to capture and preserve history. This presentation will explore Payne Chapel and its significance for the Black community, and highlight influential Black leaders Fannie Mae Duncan, Lulu Pollard, Vera Gang Scott and the McRae Sisters. You’ll learn about these incredible women through history and poetry.

The free lecture is from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 11 at the Pioneers Museum, 215 S. Tejon St., Colorado Springs, 80903. Register here for the free event.

Black History Live: Josephine Baker

The Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum is thrilled to be a stop on Colorado Humanities’ Black History Live! statewide tour. In this living-history program, Becky Stone, nationally acclaimed scholar and actor, will portray Josephine Baker, a world-renowned performer, World War II spy, and civil rights activist.

At each site on the tour, Stone’s Black History Live portrayal will be followed by a Q&A, first with the character Josephine Baker, and then with the scholar/actor Becky Stone.

The event is 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Feb. 8. Reserve your seat: give.cspm.org/Black-History-Live

Fort Collins

  • The City of Fort Collins offers this virtual tour to explore places of Black/African American history in Fort Collins.
  • Each February, Colorado State University’s Black/African American Cultural Center highlights the contributions of Black Americans. The celebration includes films, speakers and special food. Learn more about what’s on tap this year.
  • The Foothills Mall has “We are Still Watching,’’ an art exhibit curated by esteemed Fort Collins fine artist Louise Cutler. The art is on display in the west hallway. This is an interactive exhibit and requires the use of your cell phone. To learn more about each individual on the wall you must find the QR Code, scan it and click the link. This will bring up who each person is and the role they played in America’s history.


The El Pueblo Museum in Pueblo is hosting a presentation about the history of an abandoned farming community founded by African American homesteaders south of Manzanola, Colorado. Today, Alice (Craig) McDonald of is one of the last descendants of the original settlers of The Dry, which consisted primarily of Black settlers and a limited number of white homesteaders. Hear from McDonald about her time and experience living at The Dry.

This event, held in partnership with the Pueblo City-County Library District, is free and open to the public. It is from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16 at the El Pueblo History Museum, 301 N. Union Ave., Pueblo, Colorado.

 Washington, D.C.

A photo of President John F. Kennedy with Martin Luther King, Jr.
Civil rights leaders, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., meet with President John F. Kennedy in the oval office of the White House after the March on Washington in August 1963. Photo courtesy of The Smithsonian Institute.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture is offering a wide range of virtual programs for all ages this February. The month begins with A Seat at the Table, one of museum’s signature interactive programs during which participants answer questions about race, identity and economic justice. The events also include “Joyful Fridays,” during which parents and children can celebrate the many positive contributions Black people have made in the U.S.

The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of African Americans who struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American society. Learn about all of the events.

About the author

Erin Emery is editor of UCHealth Today, a hub for medical news, inspiring patient stories and tips for healthy living. Erin spent years as a reporter for The Denver Post, Colorado Springs Gazette and Colorado Springs Sun. She was part of a team of Denver Post reporters who won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news reporting.

Erin joined UCHealth in 2008, and she is awed by the strength of patients and their stories.