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Wed, 04.23.2003

The Blair-Caldwell Library (Denver, CO) Opens

*On this date in 2003, The Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library was dedicated and opened its doors.

Located in Denver, Colorado, its mission is to serve as an educational and cultural resource for the people of Denver and the world, focusing on the history, literature, art, music, religion, and politics of African Americans in Colorado and throughout the Rocky Mountain West.

At its March 24 meeting, the Denver Public Library Commission officially named the facility, The Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library. Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb proposed the name, which combines the last names of Omar Blair, the first black president of the Denver school board, and Elvin Caldwell, the first black City Council member. They envisioned a research library and museum to preserve and showcase the many contributions of African Americans to Colorado and the West.

In 1999, during his third term as Mayor of Denver, Wellington and Wilma Webb saw the urgent need to collect this legacy in one place. They proposed the construction of an African American Research Library as part of the Denver Public Library system, and the journey of gathering that history began. By 2000, the Denver Public Library had engaged consultants and a community advisory committee to help plan the library. Public meetings were held with neighborhoods that would use the facility, and Library staff began to collect personal and professional papers, publications, photographs, works of art, and other memorabilia of distinguished African Americans from all walks of life.

Groundbreaking for the new library occurred in early 2002, and it opened its doors a year later.

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Mahogany men with massive hands and broad mustaches who outlived wars and married feisty oak-imaged women be tight with money tender of heart and close to me a gallery of... UNCLES by Nikki Finney
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