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Black History Month–Celebrate with these performances and music

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Each February, Black History Month honors the achievements and contributions of African-Americans to the country. Visit Denver shares how you can celebrate throughout the Denver metro area with lectures, dramatic performances and music.

Feb. 1 – 28
A History of Black Firefighters in the Denver Fire Department Exhibit
Denver Firefighters Museum
Learn about brave firefighters who carved out a career in what used to be a segregated profession.

Feb. 1 – March 24
Landscape Expressions: Artistic Renderings by Vincent W. Lewis
Reception on Feb. 10, 1-4 p.m. 
Blair Caldwell African American Research Library
Lewis uses his art as a means of transitioning viewers into thought-provoking reflection to find rest for the soul. In addition to being an accomplished artist, Lewis is a minister and gifted puppeteer.

Feb. 2
Center for Multicultural Excellence BW-LEAD Summit , 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.
University of Denver, Daniels College of Business, Room 110
BW-LEAD provides black female high school students with leadership, academic achievement and community involvement insights and encourages the development of their identities as black women. During the conference, participants engage in discussions and learn from peers, college students and community leaders. BW-LEAD also helps students prepare for educational success in high school, engage in college preparation activities and create pathways to higher education.

Feb. 3
Juanita Gray Community Service Awards & Blacks in Colorado Hall of Fame Induction, 1:30 p.m.
Blair Caldwell African American Research Library
The Denver Public Library honors African-American men, women and youth who make outstanding contributions to the Denver metro area or who have accomplished a professional goal in their field.

Whittier Neighborhood Walking Tour with Black American West Museum, 2 p.m.
Ford-Warren Branch Library
Discover the rich history of the neighborhood surrounding the Ford-Warren Branch Library.

Feb. 8
Sankofa Storytime, 5:30 p.m. 
Pauline Robinson Branch Library
The word Sankofa comes from the Akan people of Ghana and means “to go back and get it.” One of the Adinkra symbols for Sankofa depicts a mythical bird flying forward with its head turned backward. Sankofa Storytime brings the African-American tradition of storytelling to life and is a collaboration of local artists, authors, community organizations and local librarians.   

Feb. 10
The Pillars of African-American Art Song: Compositions of Strength, Love and Justice, 7-8:30 p.m.
Blair Caldwell African American Research Library
Denver Art Song Project presents a performance of African-American art songs by soprano Stephanie Ann Ball and baritone Dr. Paul Griggs. The evening will feature some of history’s most influential African-American composers and the texts of America’s most prominent African-American wordsmiths.

Feb. 12
The Lost Tapes: Malcolm X Preview Screening, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
History Colorado Center
This documentary captures the rise and fall of Malcolm X, told through newscasts, speeches and rarely seen archival footage. The Smithsonian Channel, Comcast and the History Colorado Center are presenting the reception, preview screening and Q&A panel.

Feb. 17
“Project 75 The Mile High Medical Society ” and “Lost Boundaries” Film Showings, 6 p.m.
Black American West Museum and Heritage Center
“Project 75,” an inspiring documentary film released in 1992 by Davon Johnson, celebrates early African-American doctors in Denver. The National Medical Association had a goal to increase by 12 percent the number of blacks and people of color certified as doctors by 1975, the year of the NMA’s 75th anniversary. Also featured is a bonus showing of “Lost Boundaries,” a 1949 film that explores social ills in America.

Feb. 19 
Reflections on the Life of a Colorado Climate Scientist – Warren Washington, 1-2 p.m.
History Colorado Center
Warren Washington grew up in a racially charged era, but his parents urged him to pursue passions in art and science. He settled in the world of science and joined the National Center for Atmospheric Research in 1963, working with colleagues to build one of the first generation computer models of the Earth’s climate. Join this National Medal of Science honoree for a look at the hidden stories of a remarkable career and unexpected journey into the politically charged field of climate science.

Feb. 20–March 2
Black History Live Tour featuring Malcom X
Multiple Denver metro locations, various times
Colorado Humanities presents national humanities and Chautauqua scholar Charles Everett Pace, who will demonstrate how marginal outsiders become influential insiders through his portrayal of Malcom X at several locations in the Denver area and beyond. 

Feb. 21 & 26
Medicines of the African American Captive 2: The Tree Whisperers
Green Valley Ranch Branch Library, Feb. 21. 6 p.m.
Blair Caldwell African American Research Library, Feb. 26, 6 p.m.
African-American slaves were forced to endure the harshest of conditions without many resources. How did they survive? Slave communities had people within them with knowledge of the medical and spiritual healing powers of plants. In part two, herbalist Monticue Connally focuses primarily on the medicinal connections between African captives and the trees around them.

Feb. 25
R.A.D.A. ~ Read. Awareness. Dialogue. Action. ~ Book Discussion, 3 p.m.
Sam Gary Branch Library
Participants are encouraged to read the book “White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide” by Carol Anderson in advance.

Feb. 26
Denver’s Own Saint – Julia Greeley, 1-2 p.m.
History Colorado Center
A freed slave, devout Christian and selfless giver, Julia Greeley had an enormous impact on early Denver. Greeley came to Colorado in 1878-79 as a servant to Gov. William Gilpin. She would eventually spend almost every day at the Sacred Heart parish on Larimer Street. Join Father Blaine Burkey, author of “In Secret Service of the Sacred Heart,” as he highlights Greeley’s influence, triumphs and life.

Feb. 28
Keeping it Real: Beyond Polite Conversation, 7:30 p.m.
Ross-Cherry Creek Branch Library
Join Dr. Gregory Diggs for a conversation about how we can move beyond superficial conversations and get down to the nitty-gritty of talking about race in America.




For decades, Hollywood westerns depicted a Wild West that was populated almost entirely by white people. The Black American West Museum puts this myth to rest permanently by highlighting the prominent role blacks played in the settlement of Colorado as miners, soldiers, homesteaders, schoolteachers, ranchers, blacksmiths, cowboys, lawmen and more. This fascinating museum, located in the former home of Colorado’s first black woman doctor, hosts countless photographs, artifacts and interactive exhibits that tell the story of the Wild West through a different lens. One of the Black American West Museum’s most intriguing exhibits focuses on Dearfield, a once-bustling black pioneer town, founded in 1910 near Greeley, Colo. Dearfield is now a ghost town, but the museum owns a good portion of the site, and offers informative tours of this eye-opening part of African-American pioneer history. Contact the museum for details.



A veritable treasure trove of educational and archival materials, the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library offers traditional library resources, but also hosts illuminating exhibits on the history, literature, art, music, religion and politics of African-Americans in Colorado and throughout the Rocky Mountain West. The historic Five Points neighborhood is highlighted, as are Denver’s earliest African-American arrivals. The library is also home to the stirring African American Leadership Gallery, highlighting the often unsung heroes of The Mile High City’s black community.



Barney Ford’s story is one of the most amazing pieces of early Colorado history. Born the son of a Virginia slave in 1882, Ford escaped bondage via the Underground Railroad, and made his way to the mountain town of Breckenridge, where he achieved success as a prominent businessman, civic leader, black rights advocate and mine owner. In the late 1800s, Ford and his wife were the wealthiest couple in Breckenridge. Ford’s impressive legacy is memorialized at the Barney Ford House Museum, a charming 1882 Victorian home that recreates the way the Ford family lived.


In 2002, the Denver City Council granted Five Points, a traditionally African-American area, a much-deserved landmark status. The Five Points area included in the Welton Street Historic District was the heart of African-American commerce during the days of segregation. It was also renowned nationwide as the destination for live jazz in Denver – thanks to its more than 50 clubs and bars, it was known in some circles as the “Harlem of the West.” Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington and other legends all played to packed houses here in the 1940s and 1950s. Today, you can tour the Welton Street Historic District, taking in its classic architecture and unique atmosphere.



An uplifting museum experience in every sense, the Stiles African American Heritage Center celebrates the positive contributions made by African Americans through guided tours, cultural exhibits, artifacts and memorabilia. Located in Five Points, the heart of Denver’s historic African-American community, the Center’s stated mission is to teach African-American history and to encourage young people to go forward with dignity and pride. Diversity workshops and lectures are offered on a regular basis.

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