Celebrating Black History Month in Colorado and beyond

Jan. 31, 2022
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.

How you can celebrate Black History Month in Denver and throughout Colorado:

Colorado

You can celebrate the achievements and contributions of Black Coloradans across Colorado. AAA Colorado recommends visiting these places, from El Pueblo Museum in Pueblo to Dearfield, an African-American farming community and the only remaining town in Colorado that exemplifies the national black colonization movement inspired by Booker T. Washington. It was one of 14 rural towns established in the West to provide Americans of African descent with the opportunity to own and work their own land.

Given visitor restrictions in many Colorado venues, be sure to check first before going. Here are 8 great places.

Denver

Madam C. J. Walker at age 42. Image courtesy A'Lelia Bundles/Walker Family Collection.
Madam C. J. Walker at age 42. Image courtesy A’Lelia Bundles/Walker Family Collection.

Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs’ Pioneers Museum, which is free to the public, is proud to share Black history every day because “Colorado Springs’ history is Black history and Black history is Colorado Springs history,” says Leah Davis Witherow, the museum’s curator of history.

The museum features stories in its permanent galleries: Any Place That is North & WestThe Story of UsCOS@150, and online through the innovative Story of Us Mobile website that documents how African Americans have continued to shape the Pikes Peak region socially, politically, intellectually, culturally, and economically

The Colorado Springs Fine Art Center at Colorado College celebrates Black History Month by showcasing Black artists and Black voices in a variety of events and programs, both virtual and in-person. From theater performances, to art exhibitions and spoken word — the center invites members of the public to join in the festivities including:

  • A virtual reading of Idris Goodwin’s historical drama, The Raid, recorded in 2021.
  • Visual exhibition by artist Juan Robert Diago examining the Afro-Cuban cultural movement.
  • On stage: “By the Way, Meet Vera Stark,” a comedy by the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Lynn Nottage.

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.

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.

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