From Five Points – once known as the “Harlem of the West” – to the History Colorado Center and beyond, Black culture abounds in Denver with events and attractions honoring its rich history.
DENVER (Feb. 6, 2023) – As Black History Month pays tribute to Black Americans, honoring their achievements and contributions to the country, Denver offers various ways to celebrate during this special month and beyond with sites, performances, lectures and more.
Explore Five Points
Centrally located in the heart of Denver is the Five Points neighborhood. Five Points, granted a landmark status by Denver City Council in 2002, has been coined as the “Harlem of the West.” Including Welton Street Historic District, Five Points was the heart of Black commerce in the days of segregation as well as a hub for live performances from jazz greats such as Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis. Today, Five Points is home to coffeehouses, craft breweries, museums and more that are at the core of the Black experience in Denver, past and present.
Explore the historic heart of Denver's Black community on the Welton Street Cultural District's Walking Tour. Follow the footsteps during this self-guided walking tour that leads you to a series of historic markers. The illustrated signs tell stories about people, places and ideas that helped shape African American culture and history in Denver.
Enjoy Live Music
Countless Black artists have discovered their crafts in Denver. Denver-led project Same Cloth originated from keyboardist Solomon J. Chapman Sr. and vocalist JoFoKe. The duo uses their unique musical style to create inspirational art. The diverse traditions of Black American Music merge with an energetic spin to create Same Cloth’s musical vision, complete with Will Gaines on bass, Callum Bair and James Tré on guitar and Matt Campbell on drums. Same Cloth will perform back-to-back at Dazzle @ Bauer’s through Feb. 25, 2023.
Support Local Businesses
The Denver metro area is home to many Black-Owned businesses. Enjoy a Pate at Welton Street Café, indulge your sweet tooth at Walia Creamery or get a caffeine fix at Whittier Cafe. Shop for clothes or gifts at Ernie’s Generations, Be A Good Person and Unique Arrangements. Catch a show at The SOURCE Theatre Company and Cleo Parker Robinson Dance. Find your center at Dubwise Yoga or get in a sweat a Tao Boxing. Check out this list to learn more about local Black-Owned businesses.
These locations and happenings only scratch the surface in celebrating Black History Month in Denver. Check out the events below as well as VISIT DENVER'S guide to celebrating Black History Month 2023 for more.
BLACK HISTORY LIVE
Colorado Humanities – Throughout the month
Actor and scholar Becky Stone will portray Josephine Baker in Colorado communities in February 2023! This living history portrayal transports audience members to the early 1900s, a time when all women, and particularly women of color, struggled to find their place in a more modern America. Despite these hardships, Josephine Baker emerged as a comedian, a dancer, and eventually the first black woman to star in a major motion picture in 1927. She traveled and shared her gift for entertainment with the world but struggled to be truly accepted as equal in the United States, an experience that pushed her to dedicate the later part of her life to combating racism in America.
Lectures and Museum Exhibitions
BLACK HISTORY TOMORROW POETRY SLAM
Denver Art Museum, Feb 14, 2023
Join in for a celebration of Black History Month with Black History Tomorrow Poetry Slam/open mic, featuring Kerrie Joy and Slam Nuba. The open mic hour is from 6-7 p.m. and the Poetry Slam is from 7-9 p.m. February 14 is a Free Day at the DAM, so admission is free for all visitors. The museum is open until 9 p.m. and guests are encouraged to participate in Hearts for Arts during their visit.
BLACK AMERICAN WEST MUSEUM & HERITAGE CENTER
Located at 3091 California St., the Black American West Museum & Heritage Center reserves the history and culture of those African American men and women who helped settle and develop the American West, and recently reopened after a long renovation. The museum is in the former home of Dr. Justina Ford, the first Black woman doctor in Denver, and features exhibits on African American cowboys including Bill Pickett.
THE HISTORY OF THE DRY
El Pueblo History Museum, Feb. 16, 2023 from 6-7:30 p.m.
El Pueblo History Museum has partnered with Pueblo City-County Library District to learn about the history of an abandoned African American homesteading community known as The Dry. Founded in 1916 south of Manzanola, CO, The Dry was one of only two Black homesteading settlements in the Centennial State, the other being Dearfield in northeast Colorado. This free event features Alice (Craig) McDonald who is one of the last descendants of the original settlers of The Dry, who will discuss her time and experience living in this rural community.
HISTORY COLORADO BLACK COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
Ford-Warren Library Branch, Feb. 18, 2023 from 1-3:30 p.m.
This event is hosted by Terri Gentry, third generation Denverite and History Colorado’s Engagement Manager for Black Communities, and presents a chance for community members to guide History Colorado as it expands its collection and programs to better represent the diversity of the Centennial State. This free event encourages community feedback and offers insight into the work that locals would like History Colorado to achieve.
More Events in 2023
Paramount Theatre, March 16, 2023
Virtuoso violinists Kev Marcus and Will B are Black Violin—a dynamic duo of high-energy, classically trained musicians renowned for their ability to meld highbrow and pop culture into a single genre-busting act. Their electrifying style mines the synergy among classical, jazz, blues, R&B and hip-hop. Whether you lean toward Bach or Beyoncé, Black Violin is sure to enthrall.
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC LIVE - GREENWOOD: A CENTURY OF RESILIENCE WITH ALICIA ODEWALE
Newman Center for the Performing Arts, March 20, 2023
Co-Presented by the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, National Geographic Live brings you behind-the-scenes stories, unforgettable imagery and gripping footage from world-renowned photographers, scientists, writers, filmmakers and adventurers. A native of Tulsa, Okla., archaeologist Alicia Odewale is uncovering stories of resilience in the hundred years since the attack on Black Wall Street in the city’s vibrant Greenwood district. Considered one of the worst episodes of racial violence committed against Black people in American history, the Tulsa Race Massacre left a devastating toll on generations of survivors and their descendants and impacted the very footprint of the district itself. Join Odewale to discover how archaeology can be used as a tool for recovering lost stories, reclaiming a narrative and pursuing restorative justice.
THE COLOR PURPLE
Wolf Theatre, March 31-May 7, 2023
Few stories have had the cultural significance and lasting power of Alice Walker’s "The Color Purple." Beloved by audiences worldwide, it traces one woman’s fraught journey toward freedom and self-love. It begins with 14-year-old Celie Harris, pregnant with her second child and the victim of unspeakable cruelty at the hands of her male family members. As she comes of age, her babies are taken from her, she is married off to an abusive husband, and her sister runs away, leaving Celie gut-wrenchingly alone, spirit broken. Step by tiny step—and with the help of two courageous Black women—our hero rises up, gains her independence, and rebuilds her life from scratch. This musical adaptation of "The Color Purple" features awe-inspiring soul, gospel, jazz and blues vocals, underpinned by raw dialogue and a masterful plot. It is a triumphant, uplifting piece of art that reaffirms some fundamental truths: that Black is beautiful, that women are powerful, and that love is love.
THE ONCE AND FUTURE HOPE OF DEARFIELD: COLORADO'S AFRICAN MUSEUM COLONY IN THE EARLY 20TH CENTURY
History Colorado Center, March 15, 2023
Boulder businessman O.T. Jackson founded the African American farm colony of Dearfield in 1910. Black homesteaders were able to realize their dream of owning land and building their own community. The colony grew and thrived through World War I, but hard times for farming in the late 1920s caused it to fade away. Dearfield’s story is now emerging from the shadows of history through the decade long Dearfield Dream Project, an integrated research and historic site preservation initiative. This talk examines the past, present and future of Dearfield and its historical relationship with other Black homesteader communities from 1877 through the early 20th century.
ONGOING BLACK HISTORY AND HERITAGE EFFORTS
In addition to its February programming, History Colorado has a number of ongoing projects, programs and exhibitions that help elevate Black voices year-round. This includes the Buffalo Soldiers West exhibition at the Fort Garland Museum and Cultural Center and Mountain Haven: Lincoln Hills, 1925–1965, in Colorado Stories at the History Colorado Center. There are also a number of online resources available through History Colorado, including the Black History and Heritage Webpage, The Black History Trail on the History Colorado App and a number of online articles and digital exhibitions. Additional information about History Colorado’s resources related to Black History can be found here.
Denver City Park, July 7-9, 2023
Colorado Black Arts Festival proudly presents its 37th annual celebration of African American art and culture. A Colorado experience like no other takes place July 7, 8 and 9, 2023 in historic Denver City Park West.
About VISIT DENVER, The Convention & Visitors Bureau
Celebrating 114 years of promoting The Mile High City, VISIT DENVER is a nonprofit trade association that contracts with the City of Denver to market Denver as a convention and leisure destination, increasing economic development in the city, creating jobs and generating taxes. Denver welcomed more than 31.7 million visitors in 2021, generating $6.6 billion in spending, while supporting tens of thousands of jobs and making Tourism one of the city’s largest industries. Learn more about Denver on the VISIT DENVER website or at Tourism Pays Denver. Follow Denver’s social media channels for up-to-the-minute updates on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn.
With press or photo inquiries, please contact:
Jesse Davis: (720) 417-9621 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Caroline Campbell: (303) 549-3537 or email@example.com
Abby Schirmacher: (303) 358-0096 or firstname.lastname@example.org