BLACK SETTLEMENTS IN COLORADO
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE
In 1978, Denver television station KOA-TV produced a documentary entitled The Need, the Dream, the Reality: Colorado Black Settlements. This documentary, narrated by Reynelda Muse, recounted the history of Black settlements in Colorado, with special emphasis given to Dearfield, Colorado. This collection contains background materials used in the production of this documentary including film clips, audiotapes and interview transcripts.
The series contains transcripts of interviews conducted with former residents of Dearfield, Colorado. Interviews provide details of life in Denver, Pueblo and Dearfield from about 1910 to 1940. A brief story about Dearfield is also included.
Twenty unmounted 35mm color slides depict Oliver T. Jackson's grave. Thirty additional 35mm slides provide background material for the production of The Need, the Dream, the Reality: Colorado Black Settlements. Slides include images of Aunt Clara Brown and Barney Ford as well as scenes from Dearfield. The bulk of the slides are not identified.
The series contains five audiocassette tapes of interviews conducted by KOA-TV with three Dearfield residents: Olietta Moore, Eunice Norris and Charles Rothwell. Also included are five unidentified 16mm film reels, which contain interview clips and other background footage used in the production of the documentary.
Olietta Moore is an African-American woman born in Denver in 1903. Her father, a bricklayer who worked on many of the buildings in downtown Denver, came to Denver in the 1880’s. Moore was the great granddaughter of President William Henry Harrison. Her grandfather was a jockey. She talks about an uncle who owned much of City Park before it became a race track, and presents her recollections of Dearfield.
Charles Rothwell served as Dearfield's mayor, police chief and held other public offices. He was one of the last individuals to leave Dearfield in 1921.
Eunice Norris was born in 1897 on a train coming to Colorado. She lived in Pueblo, Colorado before becoming part of the only black family in Meeker, Colorado. She provides details about living in Dearfield, Colorado.
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Oliver Toussaint Jackson was born in Oxford, Ohio, April 6, 1862. He and his wife, Minerva, arrived in Colorado from Cleveland on April 4, 1887. Until 1894, they lived in Denver where they owned a catering business. Oliver T. Jackson was also employed by the State of Colorado as a messenger in the governor's office.
From 1894 to 1910, the Jacksons operated a farm east of Boulder, Colorado. In 1910, Jackson homesteaded land 30 miles east of Greeley in Weld County and began efforts to recruit colonists for an African-American agricultural colony. Initially, Jackson had the support of the National Negro Business League, but the group withdrew its support after Booker T. Washington, the organization's president, refused to endorse the project. By 1921, Dearfield, which was located in Weld County approximately thirty miles east of Greeley, Colorado, had grown from an initial group of seven families to a community of approximately 700.
Demand for agricultural products began to wane at the end of World War I, and with the onset of the Great Depression, Dearfield began to decline. By 1940, the town's population had decreased to twelve permanent residents. Although Jackson passed away in 1948, his niece, Jenny Jackson, continued to live in Dearfield until her death in 1973.
Today , the town site is a Colorado Historic Landmark. Denver's Black American West Museum and Heritage Center has acquired sixteen acres surrounding the town site and continues to preserve the town's few remaining buildings, including Oliver T. Jackson's home.
1 box (.25 linear feet)
Language of Materials
Other Finding Aids
KOA-TV, Denver, Colorado donated the materials in the collection. The date of this donation is unknown. KOA-TV changed its call letters to KCNC-TV in 1983, and KCNC-TV provided a supplemental gift agreement for the collection on March 22, 2010.
Number of Boxes: 1 (.25 linear feet)
Number of AVBoxes: 1
- 8mm (size: photographic film). Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- African Americans -- Colorado -- Dearfield. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- African Americans -- Colorado -- Interviews. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Audiocassettes. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Interviews. Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- KOA-TV (Television station : Denver, Colo.) -- Archival resources.
- Land settlement -- Colorado -- African Americans. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- BLACK SETTLEMENTS IN COLORADO
- JANUARY 2011
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
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