Along with passing on information about the Denver Botanic Garden when I was in the lounge at the virtual AAA trade show, “Europe is Closer than You Think,” I put in a plug for the Black American West Museum in Denver. When ever I land in a new town, I look for a place to learn something I didn’t know before. The Black American West Museum was exactly that kind of place.
Started by Paul W. Stewart, a man with a passion to promote the heritage of “Blacks in the West,” the museum is in the former home of Dr. Justina Ford, Colorado’s first female Black doctor. If you want to learn about the Buffalo Soldiers, miners, homesteaders, cowboys, and how African Americans founded the town of Deerfield, Colorado, it’s all here. This was a good place to go with kids since it’s small, but filled with actual artifacts that can hold their interest. My son was four-years-old and, unless I’m totally blocking out a miserable time, all I remember is being fascinated and had fun pointing out details to him. He liked the movies in the basement also. For people who want to know more, there are detailed descriptions and wonderful vintage photographs.
Considering such history rarely makes it into mainstream American history books, perhaps a sidebar at best, I was happy to have the chance to share these remarkable details about the African American West to my middle-school- aged daughter. I don’t remember eye rolls, unless I wasn’t looking.