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How To Explore Colorado's Black History And Culture, Year-Round
Many would be shocked to learn how much Black history is rooted in Colorado. The Black Cowboys, modern-day Black art, Black-owned businesses, and even cuisine are curated from the Black experience.
Here is a guide to exploring and celebrating Colorado’s Black culture and history.
Barney Ford House Museum, Breckenridge
Barney Ford was an enslaved who escaped and went on to become a successful businessman in Denver. He was also the first Black business owner in the town of Breckenridge. His house was turned into a museum, and preserved to remember his legacy. Barney Ford became an advocate for the civil rights movement, and is honored in the Colorado State Capitol building.
Black American West Museum, Denver
The Black American West Museum tells the story of the Black cowboys and settlers in Colorado. Currently, the museum is housed in the former home of the state’s first licensed Black female physician. The museum’s mission is to honor African Americans who paved the way in the Western United States.
During Jim Crow, the area became the epicenter for Black residents, boasting the highest number of Black-owned businesses outside of Harlem. Five Points became the focal point for jazz music, jazz musicians and music venues.
Cleo Parker Robinson Dance studio honors the African Diaspora, unites people of all ages and races, and ultimately creates life through the movement of dance. Cleo Parker Robinson Dance celebrates more than 50 years in business.
Tea Lee’s tea house and bookstore is located in the Denver’s Historic Five Points district. The shop provides a zen atmosphere filled with different variations of loose teas, food and other specialty drinks.
Melissa and Jason Vaz founded More Than Curly Salon in 2011. It was Colorado’s only chemical-free and curl educating salon. Their mission is to make sure every customer leaves loving their natural curls.
Comal Heritage Food Incubator, Denver
Comal mixes Mexican, Syrian and Ethiopian food and drinks into one menu. The Incubator’s mission is to help immigrants and refugees learn about entrepreneurship and professional food services while also creating a fusion to celebrate their own culinary traditions.
Four by Brother Luck, Colorado Springs
A former contestant on Bravo’s ‘Top Chef,’ a finalist in Food Network’s ‘Chopped’ and the winner of ‘Beat Bobby Flay’ now owns Four, located in Colorado Springs. The eatery is influenced by four main pillars: the hunter, gatherer, fisherman, and farmer.
Rising Sun Distillery, Denver & Frisco
Rising Sun is a Black-owned distillery with two locations in Denver & Frisco. Sol Richardson and his wife, Dawn Nudell Richardson, opened up one of only two organic distilleries in Colorado, and it’s the state’s only female and Black-owned distillery. Their line-up features gin, whiskey and vodka, as well as unique offerings such as their Palisade Peach Brandy and Pueblo Chile White Whiskey.