Colorado For All: The Centennial State Elevates Black and Minority-Owned Offerings, Cultural Experiences for Travelers

 

DENVER - FEB. 4, 2021 - Colorado’s diversity is evident—not only in its flora and fauna—but in its culture, traditions and statewide offerings. From the history of the Ancestral Puebloans who left behind pristine cliff dwellings, to the Black Cowboys who shaped Colorado’s Western roots, to modern-day street art that illustrates the hopes, history and struggles of the Latino community in Denver, the four-cornered state tells the stories of diverse communities. 

In celebration of diversity and in honor of Black History Month, Colorado invites travelers to learn about the state's rich and multi-cultural history and support its colorful—yet safe—future. For more information, please visit www.colorado.com

Explore Colorado’s Black History:

Barney Ford House Museum, Breckenridge: This house museum, now open to visitors for private tours, contains lots of information about Barney Ford and the preservation of his lovely home.

Ford was an escaped slave who became a successful businessman in Denver and the first Black business owner in Breckenridge. Though well-respected in the Breckenridge community, Ford still faced racism and hardship and he became an advocate for civil rights, and is now honored in the Colorado State Capitol building.

Black American West Museum, Denver: When the museum’s founder was told there were no roles for him to play in “Cowboys and Indians,” he made it his life’s mission to find the wild west history of African Americans—and that he did. Today, the Black American West Museum tells the story of Black cowboys, homesteaders and settlers in Colorado and beyond. Housed in the former home of the state’s first licensed Black female physician, the museum is dedicated to collecting, preserving and honoring African Americans who paved the way in the Western United States.

Dearfield Ghost Town, near Greeley, CO: One of the more unique ghost towns in Colorado, Dearfield was the only all-Black settlement in Weld County. More than 700 African Americans settled here in the early 1900’s, but the town was not able to survive the Great Depression and Dust Bowl years. Now a few deserted buildings still stand to remind us of the prominence of Black history during the wild west era.

Five Points Historic Cultural District, Denver: Five Points came to prominence after a group of African Americans fled the Deep South and settled in this neighborhood north of Denver. Due largely in part to Jim Crow regulations, the area became the heart of cultural and commercial activity for Black residents—boasting the highest number of Black-owned businesses outside of Harlem. Following World War II, Five Points became a mecca for jazz music, pumping out a slew of talented musicians and venues. The neighborhood was also home to the Rossonian Hotel (currently being renovated), a legendary jazz club that regularly featured renowned artists such as Billie Holiday and Nat King Cole. The neighborhood has since seen changes, but remains a cultural destination with deep roots that can be experienced through a historic walking tour.

Lincoln Hills, Black Hawk: Lincoln Hills, situated 38 miles west of Denver, was the largest resort west of the Mississippi built by and for African Americans and provided a level of societal freedom rarely found at the time. African Americans from all parts of the United States, including well-known celebrities, frequented the famed resort. The Lincoln Hills resort community enjoyed a strong existence and role in the lives of many African American families throughout the Great Depression, post-World War II and up until the mid-1960s. Today, Lincoln Hills is home to a camp for kids from marginalized communities, equestrian center, mountain bike trails, special events and a fly fishing club. 

In addition to celebrating Black History Month, visitors may also experience other diverse cultures through these myriad institutions:

Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, Cortez: The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center works to provide a broader understanding of Ancestral Puebloan culture through immersive workshops. While the campus is currently closed, it launched the Discover Archaeology webinar series in 2020 to keep Crow Canyon's community engaged at a distance. Guided by the principle that there are many ways of knowing the past, these events reflect diverse voices that contribute to our understanding of the past, present and future. The webinars are free and led by renowned researchers, cultural specialists, tribal members, academics and experts.

Denver Art Museum’s Indigenous Art Collection, Denver: Back in the 1920s, the Denver Art Museum became the first art museum to collect North American indigenous art. It has since grown its collection to nearly 20,000 objects representing the artistic traditions from nearly every tribe across the U.S. and Canada from prehistoric times to present--making it one of the best places in the Front Range to experience the beauty and cultural and educational value of Indigenous art.

Granada Relocation Center, Granada: In response to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order that forced the incarceration of thousands of Japanese Americans and immigrants. The Granada Relocation Center, commonly known as “Camp Amache,” was one of nine internment camps across the nation and now serves as a reminder of the wrongful imprisonment of thousands. This National Historic Landmark is now home to the Amache Museum and several interpretive kiosks, which help to tell the story of the site and the people who were imprisoned there. Visitors can experience an hour-long driving audio tour of its history and significance, narrated by camp survivors.

Mesa Verde National Park, Mesa Verde: Dedicated to preserving and interpreting the heritage of the Ancestral Puebloan culture, Mesa Verde National Park offers a spectacular look into the lives of the Anasazi. For more than 700 years, many ancestral Puebloans lived and flourished in the area, eventually building elaborate stone communities in the sheltered alcoves of the canyon walls. The park's dwellings are some of the most notable and best-preserved ruins in the North American continent, and the park was named a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site.

Museo de las Americas, Denver: Located in the heart of the Art District on Santa Fe, Museo de las Americas is the premier Latin American art museum in the Rocky Mountain region. Dedicated to telling the story of Latin culture and heritage in Colorado, the museum has a stacked lineup of award-winning exhibitions, educational programming and special events for visitors to enjoy.

Ute Indian Museum, Montrose: Inhabiting the Rockies and its surrounding areas, the Ute people are some of the oldest residents of Colorado. Located in Montrose, the Ute Indian Museum helps to connect the past with contemporary Ute life and culture. Exhibits focus on the peoples’ history of adaptation and persistence, and unfold around a central theme of geography, highlighting significant locations in the tribe’s history. Through stunning exhibitions, visitors explore topics of Ute cultural survival, political determination and economic opportunity.

Experience and support Colorado’s present-day, minority-owned and focused offerings:

Chicano Street Art, Denver: Some of the best Chicano art isn't confined to the interiors of museums and galleries. All over Denver, visitors can encounter brilliantly colorful murals created by Chicano artists that illustrate the hopes, history and struggles of the city's Latino community—which led AFAR magazine to recognize Denver as the “Street Art Capital of the Country.” Visitors can take self-guided walks and tours to check out murals and works of public art in the city’s most diverse neighborhoods.

Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, Denver: Cleo Parker Robinson Dance uses the universal language of dance to honor the African Diaspora, explore the human condition, champion social justice, unite people of all ages and races, and ultimately celebrate the complexity of life through movement. Founded by one of Denver’s iconic Black choreographers and housed in one of the city’s oldest African American churches in Five Points, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance celebrates more than 50 years serving as a convener of community, art and dance.

Comal Heritage Food Incubator, Denver: Comal is a restaurant that serves up some of the most delicious Mexican, Syrian and Ethiopian food and drinks in the city. One of the best things on the menu? Equity. The Incubator’s mission is to help immigrants and refugees learn about entrepreneurship and professional food services while celebrating their own culinary traditions.

Four by Brother Luck, Colorado Springs: With a name likeBrother Luck it would be easy to attribute your success to good fortune, but his achievements have been a result of hard work, determination and passion. Luck has been cooking up meals in kitchens since he was in high school, and has worked his way up to TV screens across America, where he was a contestant in Bravo’s Top Chef, a finalist in Food Network’s Chopped and the winner of Beat Bobby Flay. He now owns two restaurants in the Pikes Peak region. The cuisine served at Four is influenced by the four main providers who supply the restaurant’s ingredients: the hunter, the gatherer, the fisherman and the farmer 

Latino Outdoors, Statewide: Latino Outdoors is a unique Latinx-led organization working to provide members of the Hispanic and other underrepresented communities with transformative outdoor experiences. As part of this work, the organization serves as a platform for sharing cultural connections and narratives that are often overlooked by the traditional outdoor movement. It is a space for the community to be present, share their voices and showcase how conservation roots have been ingrained in la cultura Latina for generations. 

Leadvelo Bicicasa, Leadville: A premier bike shop in Leadville, Leadvelo Bicicasa was inspired by an avenue in Mexico City lined with “bicicasas,” or bike houses. The name is a nod to the shop owner’s heritage and love for bikes and is a motto for his approach to life and business. The bicycle shop, owned and operated by Rafael Millan-Garcia, gets visitors outfitted for their next road, gravel or bikepacking adventure. 

Mawa’s Kitchen, Aspen: Mawa McQueen’s journey started on the Ivory Coast, with her love for cooking taking her from her hometown to one of the top culinary schools in France, and eventually to the four-corned state. At the home base of her flourishing restaurant group, which owns two restaurants, a catering business, and private, in-flight dining services, Mawa’s Kitchen offers a colorful, healthy alternative to Aspen’s dining scene.

Raíces Brewing Co., Denver: Located in Denver’s Sun Valley neighborhood, Raíces is a Latino-owned and operated brewery that pours more than just beer. The taproom aims to become a reference center for those interested in learning about Latin culture, and a place where Latinos can connect with others and feel at home. To do so, Raíces has developed a unique approach to attracting guests: the creation of authentic events that expose its guests to Latinx culture, active programs that have a strong focus on giving back to its community, and, of course, brewing high-quality, award-winning craft beer. The brewery also offers up a rotation of Latin and Caribbean food trucks throughout the week, and creates opportunities for underrepresented groups who would like to break into the industry through their SEEDS program. 

Rising Sun Distillery, Denver & Frisco: Opened in 2015 by Sol Richardson and his wife, Dawn Nudell Richardson, Rising Sun Distillery is one of only two organic distilleries in Colorado, and is the state’s only female and Black-owned distillery. Their line-up of staples like gin, whiskey and vodka are joined by unique offerings such as their Palisade Peach Brandy and Pueblo Chile White Whiskey—making the cocktail offerings in their two tasting rooms a unique Colorado experience.

Third Culture Bakery, Aurora: Third Culture Bakery and its masterminds, Sam Butarbutar and Wenter Shyu, took Aurora’s baking scene by storm by cultivating pastries and drinks that fuse numerous Asian flavors, their histories and travels altogether. The bakery is mostly known for its infused matcha drinks, mochi muffins, doughnuts, and custard cakes. The shop's menu also offers other foods and drinks inspired by their upbringing in Taiwanese and Indonesian cultures, hence the shop’s name “Third Culture Kids”—which pays homage to an entire generation who grew up in a culture different from that of their parents. 

Timberline Adventures, Boulder: Known for guiding small groups to special, lesser-known places within Colorado, this woman-owned business offers fully supported cycling, hiking, and multi-sport experiences. The organization was also recognized by National Geographic as one of the Best Adventure Companies on Earth, with trips named among their top ‘50 Tours of a Lifetime.’

Tocabe, Denver and Greenwood Village: This restaurant first opened its doors in December 2008 and is the only American Indian owned and operated restaurant in Metro Denver specializing in Native and Indigenous cuisine. It offers guests a warm, open space to dine with connections to American Indian cultural elements, infused with a contemporary atmosphere.

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ABOUT COLORADO: Colorado is a four-season destination offering unparalleled adventure and recreational pursuits, a thriving arts scene, a rich cultural heritage, flavorful cuisine and 28 renowned ski areas and resorts. The state's breathtaking scenic landscape boasts natural hot springs, the headwaters of seven major rivers, many peaceful lakes and reservoirs, 12 national parks and monuments, 26 scenic and historic byways and 58 mountain peaks that top 14,000 feet. For more information or a copy of the 2021 Colorado Official State Vacation Guide, visit www.COLORADO.com or call 1-800 COLORADO. Follow Colorado on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

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