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Mrs Ida Smith

Mrs. Smith has been providing great hair salon services for over 40 plus years in the Denver Community. She has owned her shop during that period of time as well. She is very well known in the community and has a long standing of life time clients including myself. I trust her completely when providing services on my hair for she has the knowledge and experience that I admire.

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Shana Shaw

Shana is the CEO and Founder of Compound of Compassion Nonprofit Organization in Denver Colorado. Shana’s Organization provides various helpful resources and services throughout the communities in Denver/Aurora from homeless to the abused, misunderstood, the forgotten, and the ones just needing Compassion to help them make it from one day to the next. Shana unselfishly gives 100+ to Compound of Compassion because its not only what she believes its who she is. And she is hard at work for the task she so faithfully drives to make it better for someone who needs that bridge from helpless to a better way of life.

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Ollice Burke IV

Survived a stroke and the doctors told him he would never walk or talk again but he is doing all of that and even playing football. He was also on a billboard off of Platte and was on the memorial hospital elevator for a while as well. He even went on the news telling his story.

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Justus B Morgan

My pastor Justus B. Morgan
Part of the Colorado Springs Community over 80 years , Pastor and his Family have dedicated their life to Ministry. His father the Senior Chester E. Morgan, founded Morgan Memorial Chapel Church of God in Christ in 1918.

Many Families in the community, military and some just passing through have found a home, a place of worship, a place of deliverance and a place to find peace in their weekly routine.

Pastor Morgan has been active with NAACP over years past. He is a man of prayer, sound faith and is known as a pillar founded by our Lord and Savior Jesus to follow the direction of Christ for the Church Family and the community.

Some of the youngest members have been with the Church for over 40 years. Others have been members for more than 60 years. Our Pastor is an humble man, who lives the life, and leads as he’s directed by Christ. Tradition is fine, but his way of leading is known to be dynamic, simply because he doesn’t make a move without the direction of Christ.

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Daphne Rice-Allen | Black American West Museum & Heritage Center

Daphne H. Rice-Allen has been a leader in the African American arts and culture community since 1989. Her parents attended historically Black colleges in the South and encouraged her to be always be curious . Leading the museum is part of that tradition. During her tenure as the Chair she is motivated to strengthen the museum’s volunteer and membership base. Mrs. Rice-Allen has held positions as an Arts Coordinator for Art Reach after school program and a former board member of the Denver Black Arts Festival now the Colorado Black Arts Festival. She was recently inducted into the Circle of Wisdom by the Colorado Kwanzaa Committee. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Technical Communications/Public Relations from Metro State College and an associate’s degree in Applied Science, Fashion Merchandising from Arapahoe Community College.

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Promise Lee

Mr. Lee have transcended our black culture over the years. His leadership and impact has spearheaded a long legacy of a up lifting all minority communities and families. The Hillside community and its kids have a brighter future because of his hard work and dedication to helping improve the lives of so many.

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Lexington Smith

Lex is a up and coming trainer in the Denver Metro area. Lex played in the NFL and is a UNC Football alumni. He is a very inspirational and likable person. He has a great impact in all the peoples lives that he trains. Lex is helping me reach my full potential in football. Heis looking for many other athletes to help push to their goals as well. Not only in football but other sports and fitness goals as well.

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Lexington Smith

Lex is a up and coming trainer in the Denver Metro area. Lex played in the NFL and is a UNC Football alumni. He is a very inspirational and likable person. He has a great impact in all the peoples lives that he trains. Lex is helping me reach my full potential in football. Heis looking for many other athletes to help push to their goals as well. Not only in football but other sports and fitness goals as well.

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Dwight Strode

This man is a pastor, counselor and a family man! He has impacted so many lives here in Colorado from giving back to the community through Street church, having his own church here in Colorado Springs at Relation With Christ Ministries, he has blessed so many families and welcomed so many young people and made a major impact on their lives! From being a counselor on fort Carson helping soldiers who struggle with substance abuse, to working at st.francis hospital and working with patients there. He has truly done so much in the community. He also served 30 years in the Air Force and retired as a chief also leaving so many lives impacted!

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Dwight Gentry

Dwight Gentry has been a mentor to hundreds of young men, Black and Latino, since 1980 in Denver, and since 1970 in Topeka Kansas, as an educational counselor, and through mentoring programs, internship programs, and leadership training programs. His impact has given these young men the resources and tools to make better choices as they pursue their college and/or career options, as they begin to carve their own path and pursue their dreams, and facilitates their direction to stand with integrity as they navigate their lives. In addition, he has touched the lives of hundreds more, as he stands for Civil Rights and Equity, and challenges the disparities that our children of color have experienced in our school systems, especially the inequity with discipline our children face. He is a man of GOD, a man of strength, integrity, kindness, and honor.

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Mrs. Wilma Webb

Mrs. Wilma Webb fought for years for the State of Colorado to adopt Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr as a holiday.
Denver, CO has been known to have one of the largest Marades (combination of a March and a parade) in the U.S.
Mrs. Webb was a member of the Colorado Legislature in 1980 and became the first minority woman on the Colorado Joint Budget Committee. She sponsored over 44 bills, 11 which passed, including the Comprehensive Anti-Drug Abuse Program; Elderly Frail People to Receive Care at Home as Opposed to Nursing Home Placement; and Improvement of Living Conditions for Troubled Youth. She also worked hard in helping her husband, Wellington Webb, become the first African American mayor of Denver in 1991. Mrs. Webb has continued to be very active in the community for numerous years. She has left a legacy for others to carry on the torch.

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Me Veronica Luckett

Ms V has been the Director at King Baptist Childcare and Preschool for more than 13 yrs. She has built a center in Park Hill that is very well known in the community as a safe, caring place to take your children ages 2 1/2 to 11 yrs. She sees that they get a healthy breakfast, lunch and snacks every day. She puts on a beautiful Christmas program, also a spring program and graduation ceremony complete with cap and gown for those going on to kindergarten. She has these kids so well prepared for kindergarten! She teaches with a firm hand and a loving heart! She is always loving on these kids and their families. There are parents that were her students that bring their children there because they know what a safe loving environment it is. She helps families with clothes and other necessities when needed. There isn’t a better place in Denver you could take your kids, many come back to see her long after their days in childcare are over. I have a very special place in my heart for Ms V and King Baptist. She is truly an example of what a daycare, preschool should look like!! She deserves this recognition as she works in a very important field that the importance of for our young developing children is too often overlooked or taken for granted!! Thank you!!

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Claudetta”Jackie”Moore

Claudette was born February 29, 1940 she was buried February 29, 2012. She held 2 bachelor degrees: Journalism and English.
The class of 1959 Douglass High school, OKC she never missed a class reunion, she held some office.
She help stage a walk out in 1986 with Clare Luper because of the unfair firing of Blacks at Tinker AFB, OKC. At 5’9 she was very out spoken, who would stand up for herself and others. She owned a hair salon with 3 other Moore’s: Moore’s Beauty Salon in OKC. She held a Oklahoma real estate license in the 70’s-80’s. With Her above accomplishments she retired from Tinker AFB after 36 years.
My Mama

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Clara Brown

“Aunt” Clara Brown
Often called the “Angel of the Rockies,”
Clara Brown reflects the richness of the
African-American experience. She faced
enormous challenges and reached
wonderful heights in her nearly eighty-five
years. Turning her back on her life in
slavery, she looked west for the children
she had lost. She then became one of the
first African-American women to settle in
Colorado. Clara was skillful in business
ventures and investments that earned her
thousands of dollars. She also gained a
reputation for community care. She helped
people of all races, but she worked
especially hard to bring black people out
of poverty and enslavement.
Enslaved
Clara Brown was probably born into slavery in Virginia around 1800. Wealthy white
southerners who “owned” Clara often auctioned her to the highest bidder as if she were a
horse to be sold. Each time she was bought, she would have to move, sometimes even to
a different state. Clara married when she was eighteen, and later gave birth to four
children. Tragically, all of her children and her husband were sold to different people
across the country. She vowed to work for the rest of her life to reunite her shattered
family.
Clara worked as a domestic servant until 1856 when her “owner” at the time,
George Brown, died. Fortunately, his family helped Clara achieve her freedom, and she
could begin the search for her missing children.
Heading West
Hearing that one of her daughters, Eliza, may have moved to the West, Clara headed in
that direction. She had money to travel, but black people at the time were forbidden from
buying stagecoach tickets. Instead, she convinced a group of prospectors to take her with
them. On their way to Colorado in search of gold, she would work as their cook. The
journey was long and rough and Clara had to walk alongside the wagon for much of the
nearly 700-mile trek.
Once in Denver, Clara was unable to find her daughter. She decided to travel with
gold seekers to Central City in the summer of 1859. The town was made up of gold
mines, small stores, saloons, and shacks for miners and their families. Clara was one of
the first African-American women to reach the gold-mining towns of Colorado.

Making Strides
Clara’s two most important goals were to make enough money to live independently and
to find her family. She figured that accomplishing the first goal would help her with the
second. Clara started by opening a small laundry service for the gold miners of Central
City. The business was very successful, and she began saving her money. To make even
more, she cooked, cleaned, and catered special engagements. By the end of the Civil War
in 1865, when most black people were just gaining their legal freedom, Clara had saved
ten thousand dollars. This was an astonishing amount of money. With this wealth, she
invested in mining claims and Colorado real estate. She could now support herself very
well.
A Hub of the Community
Like most of the small black population of Colorado, “Aunt” Clara saw the importance of
living within a strong community. In Central City, her business and her home became
community hubs. Sick or injured miners, regardless of race, would often turn to her for
help. Clara gave them a place to recover and cared for them until they were able to return
to work. She also helped those who were homeless and needed a place to stay. Pregnant
women in town often wanted Clara to help deliver their babies. She provided many of
these services for free to those who could not afford them.
Clara Brown was a Presbyterian, but she did not discriminate against other faiths.
She gave money and time to four different churches in town. As she had done in Denver,
she also helped start the first Sunday school program in town. She used her home as the
classroom. While her faith was strong and her finances secure, Clara was still missing
something…her family.
Searching for Her Family
Once she had saved enough money, Clara Brown began the hunt for her family. She
traveled to Kentucky and Tennessee in search of her loved ones. Though she did not find
her children or husband, she did not return empty-handed. Clara discovered other
relatives on her trip, and she paid for them to move to Colorado. She also helped other
freed blacks to move here for many years. When they arrived, she helped them find jobs
in their new home.
In 1879, Clara acted as an official representative of Colorado Governor Pitkin to
Kansas. Many black people had escaped from the South and moved to black homesteads
in Kansas. This was sometimes called the “Black Exodus,” and these people were called
“Exodusters.” Governor Pitkin sent Clara Brown to Kansas to try to persuade some of
them to move to Colorado. Many jobs were available in Colorado due to mining strikes
and labor shortages. Clara delivered Governor Pitkin’s invitation and donated some of
her own money to support the new black communities.
In spite of all her successes, disaster was just around the corner. In 1864, a great
flood swept through Denver and destroyed much of the town. The papers proving that
Clara Brown owned property there were lost. In 1873, Clara’s home and several of her
other properties went up in flames in a huge fire in Central City. Clara now had nothing
to show for all her years of work, but people in the community came to her rescue.
Someone even set her up in a cottage in Denver.

Triumph of Love
In 1882, when Clara was about 80 years old, good news brought fresh hope of finding her
daughter. She received word that a black woman named Eliza lived in Council Bluffs,
Iowa. This woman was born about the same time as Clara’s child, Eliza. She had been
taken from her mother and sold to another family, and she even looked a bit like Clara.
With money from her friends, “Aunt” Clara immediately traveled to Iowa to find out if
this person could indeed be her Eliza. They met in Iowa, and the two joyfully discovered
that they were in fact mother and daughter! The story of their reunion was widely
published in newspapers in Colorado and throughout the Midwest. After forty-seven
years of separation and searching, Clara’s dream had finally come true. Eliza was the
only child Clara ever found, and the two returned to Colorado where they lived until
Clara’s death.
Immortalized
“Aunt” Clara Brown passed away in her sleep just three years after being reunited with
her daughter. Crowds flocked to her funeral. The mayor of Denver and the governor of
Colorado even attended the ceremony. The Colorado Pioneer Association made Clara
Brown their first African-American member, and funded her entire funeral. Clara
Brown’s name and reputation have lived on in the years since her death. A chair in the
Central City Opera House was installed in her name in the 1930s. This is an honor
reserved for well-respected community members. In 1977, Clara’s life and achievements
were commemorated with a stained glass portrait of her in the state capitol building. She
also has a plaque on the St. James Methodist Church in Central City, which explains that
her home served as the first church in the area. An opera about her life, called Gabriel’s
Daughter, debuted in Central City in 2003.
People say that Clara Brown went from being a slave to being an angel, but
neither word is accurate. She was an experienced black woman who lived with purpose
and passion. She recognized the power of community and in building relationships. She
found her way out of a life of enslavement to establish a new life in Colorado. Her
success in business gave her the chance to share her wealth with friends and family. She
worked to develop the black community in Colorado. The discovery of her daughter,
Eliza, turned her lifelong dream into reality. In her own time of crisis, favors and
kindness were lovingly returned to her.
BY SHANTI ZAID, Colorado Historical Society, Clara Brown intern
Further Reading
Baker, Roger. Clara: An Ex-slave in Gold Rush Colorado. Central City: Black Hawk Publishing Co., 2003.
Bruyn, Kathleen. “Aunt” Clara Brown: Story of a Black Pioneer. Boulder: Pruett Publishing Co., 1970.
Gates, Jr., Henry Louis, et al (eds.) Perseverance. African Americans: Voices of Triumph Series. Time-
Life Custom Publishing, 1993.
Lowery, Linda. Aunt Clara Brown: Official Pioneer. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books, 1999.Lowery, Linda. The Story of Aunt Clara Brown. New York: Random House, 2002.

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Pastor Kevin Thompson

As the pastor of Denver’s New Life Christian Fellowship Church, Rev. Dr. Kevin Thompson is a community change-maker who has a heart for all people. He is known for his preaching against social injustice, helping the
marginalized, and making sure that everyone that he encounters knows that “Everybody Matters to God”.
His warm, friendly, and welcoming personality show along with his genuine concern and
empathy to those seeking help, advice, or just a listening ear. Pastor Thompson is instrumental in helping to get the communities of color vaccination information and has held clinics that vaccinated over 1300 people in the Denver and Aurora communities. Being the Pastor of an inclusive church in the greater metro area comes with great challenges and Pastor Thompson loves a challenge.

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Jamal Bowen

I begin by acknowledging the role Mr. Bowen has played in the Colorado educational system. Being a former student of Mr. Bowen, I observed his professionalism, work ethic, and most importantly his compassion for his students. The time I spent with Mr. Bowen in the classrooms and on campus has opened my mind to the limitless opportunities a student can achieve. Outside of campus I have seen Mr. Bowen’s efforts to motivate and aid numerous students and communities. From Africa to the States, Mr. Bowen has left a lasting impression on me personally. I now aspire to play a role in the educational field due to the remarkable job I seen Mr. Bowen do at the Community College of Denver campus.

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Ronald Fontenot, Sr. & John Henson

John Henson and Ron Fontenot Sr., are two retired engineers who have spent many years working with young people in volunteer technical training after-school programs. They started Colorado Futuretek in 2010 to further provide enrichment training and resources to help African American and other underrepresented minority high school students obtain marketable skills in the IT and Computer industries. They also enlist youth from their Summertek program to help senior citizens 50 and over learn the basics or improve their skills using laptops or smartphones.

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Elijah Huff

East End Visions Apparel:

Involving political leaders in conversations that address issues in the community

Creating events based around peace and unity

Creating opportunities for students to shine and win educational and arts based contests

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Elijah Huff

East End Visions Apparel:

Involving political leaders in conversations that address issues in the community

Creating events based around peace and unity

Creating opportunities for students to shine and win educational and arts based contests

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Ms Veronica Luckett

Ms V has been the Director at King Baptist Childcare and Preschool for more than 13 yrs. She has built a center in Park Hill that is very well known in the community as a safe, caring place to take your children ages 2 1/2 to 11 yrs. She sees that they get a healthy breakfast, lunch and snacks every day. She puts on a beautiful Christmas program, also a spring program and graduation ceremony complete with cap and gown for those going on to kindergarten. She has these kids so well prepared for kindergarten! She teaches with a firm hand and a loving heart! She is always loving on these kids and their families. There are parents that were her students that bring their children there because they know what a safe loving environment it is. She helps families with clothes and other necessities when needed. There isn’t a better place in Denver you could take your kids, many come back to see her long after their days in childcare are over. I have a very special place in my heart for Ms V and King Baptist. She is truly an example of what a daycare, preschool should look like!! She deserves this recognition as she works in a very important field that the importance of for our young developing children is too often overlooked or taken for granted!! Thank you!!

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Jamal Bowen

Jamal is a young man who aspires to ensure education is at the forefront for young African Americans. Jamal shares in the belief that entrepreneurship is a key component to the success of creating generational wealth. Jamal believes in community and in God and works diligently to improve our state of community and entrepreneurship.

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Rob Andrews

Activist in changing the justice reform problems. Non profit owner (Community Works) which helps with the rehabilitation of adults after leaving prison or experiencing homelessness. His organization provides classes, resume help, job networking, apartment help, interview prep, and professional business attire for the interview process. Outside of this Rob is working on developing mentorship programs revolving around social entrepreneurship in black communities. Rob has done several community outreach programs under Mayor Hancock and has his backing.

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Laurence Tarver

Laurence Tarver, a retired Denver Public Schools Educator and Coach, worked in the public schools system for over 30 years. During his time as a teacher and coach, Mr. Tarver had the opportunity to work with young men and women from across the city and state of Colorado, pouring into them not just the importance of receiving a good eduction, but also the life skills and tools that were often needed in order for them to be successful in life.

As an educator, Mr. Tarver was one of very few African American men in the profession in the early years of his career and thus, knew the importance of his role in being a strong, positive role model and example for the students who would cross his path. He was an educator who knew how to make learning come alive in the classroom for his students, making sure that every single one of them knew how much he cared and was invested in their success. As a Coach, Mr. Tarver used athletics as a vehicle for his students to help give them a chance to pursue higher education using sports as the vehicle to get there. The same life skills that he taught his students in the classroom were the same skills that he taught them on the football field, basketball court, baseball field, wrestling mats, and on the track. Mr. Tarver has a long history of teaching and coaching in the Denver Public Schools, and was also responsible for helping to mentor and develop a number of his athletes who went on to coach at the high school and collegiate level. Although he was never fortunate to coach his athletes to a state title, he was responsible for coaching many of them to individual successes in their own individual lives. Countless former athletes of his have given testament to the fact that Mr. Tarver was more than just a teacher and coach, but was the father figure that many of them lacked at the time when they were able to cross paths with him.

In 1995, Mr. Tarver became the Principal of Gove Middle School and remained the last school leader until its closure ten years later. In his role at Principal, Mr. Tarver was able to help foster the same love for learning and those same life lessons into another generation of students. To his surprise, in his role as Principal, Mr. Tarver was now also helping to raise the sons and daughters, and in some cases the grandchildren of so many of the former students he had taught and coached when he first entered the profession during the 1970’s. Mr. Tarver retired from Denver Public Schools in 2005, but continued working in education for the next couple of years until finally retiring altogether.

While his days as a formal educator have passed, Mr. Tarver still continued to coach in Denver Public Schools up to 2020, and helps to mentor and provide guidance to a number of educators and coaches to this present day. Mr. Tarver has touched hundreds, possibly even thousands of lives both near and far who can bear witness to the fact that he is a educational and coaching legend in the city of Denver, across the stare of Colorado and beyond. Tough, stern and often misunderstood in the various roles he has served in, Mr. Tarver helped save a number of youth, particularly young men, from getting caught up in the temptations and troubles that often were awaiting them. Even some of those who were the most rebellious and reluctant to follow his guidance have been able to look back many years later and show their thanks and appreciation for the many words of encouragement that he spoke, the frequent hard conversations and redirections he gave, and the fact that he was one of the individuals who never gave up on them. At age 70, he remains a strong example of the power and presence that Black male educators have in the lives of our children, and continues to pass on his wisdom to those who will listen.

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Patience Kabwasa

Patience is a total community hero. She is the executive director of Food to Power (Formerly the Colorado Springs Food Rescue) but has been involved in the organization for years, helping grow its impact. The goal of the organization is to ensure no family goes hungry, and to help establish food independence for areas lacking in healthy food options. A vast swath of Southeast Colorado Springs is considered a food desert, and Patience has actively worked to mitigate the health inequities prominent in that part of town. Moreover, she writes the bi-monthly DiverseCity column in the Colorado Springs Indy, where she speaks on important national, statewide and local issues with sensitivity, grace and passion.

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TerryJosiah Sharpe

TerryJosiah came to Colorado Springs in 2017 with an open mind and a heart to bring this city to its feet through music. Since his arrival he’s partnered with dozens of venues, influencers, and musicians to bring people from all walks together through his love of the arts. The legacy he is creating gives people an inside look into the world of music and welcomes people from all backgrounds to create under one unified sound. From Anthem Music Enterprises to The Urban Classic TerryJosiah has revitalized our music industry and breathes life into local musicians who are trying to find their sound.

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Joseph Whitfield Jr.

Joseph R. Whitfield
18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office
Joseph Whitfield, Esq., is a Deputy District Attorney for the Office of the District Attorney for the 18th Judicial District. There he prosecutes felony cases in a variety of different areas including Assault, Weapons, Forgery, Drug Distribution, and Homicide. He is a member of the office’s Vehicular Homicide Unit, and works with law enforcement, members of the defense bar, investigators, and victims of crime. Prior to joining the District Attorney’s Office, Mr. Whitfield had a career in business and technology. He would later clerk for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri, handling a variety of cases including Human Trafficking, Intellectual Property, Organized Crime, and Public Corruption. Mr. Whitfield has served in a variety of leadership positions including as a Committee Chair for the NAACP Aurora Colorado Chapter, President of the Sam Cary Bar Association of Colorado, Vice President of the board for Highline Academy Charter Schools, as a Commissioner on the Uniform Law Commission (Colorado Delegation), and as an Instructor with the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA). Mr. Whitfield received both his J.D. and LL.M. in Intellectual Property and Technology Law from the School of Law at Washington University in St. Louis.

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Elisabeth Epps

Elisabeth started the Colorado Freedom Fund to get poor people who have not had due process out of cages. She is an abolitionist who has led changes at the state level in prisons and works diligently to abolish cages and the carceral state by literally freeing people.

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Jeff Campbell

Jeff founded Emancipation Theater and From Allies to Abolitionists. As an organizer, educator, playwright, actor, rapper etc. he has utilized his talents to mobilize allies to true abolitionist actions. His legacy is of a modern underground railroad culture that helps us all find our freedom bound up in each others’ freedom.

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Kerrie Joy Landell

Kerrie has started a civic engagement effort called De-Mystify the technique. In addition to being a prolific poet, vocalist, educator and organizer she has used her artistic talent to uplift the history of our historically Black community and promote the reclamation of that history and identity via her clothing wear brand EastsideForever inspired by the first Black superhero film, Black Panther and the moniker WakandaForever. Her poetry and music is quickly becoming the backdrop of our modern civil rights movement.

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Selinea Moore-Allen

Selinea is an educator & community servant extraordinaire! She not only works as a math tutor at PPCC, but she also volunteers in Harrison District 2 tutoring our children in math. She holds town hall meetings introducing the Dakota Promise Program (math/life program for low income families) to parents and community members. Selinea takes the time to personally help parents find scholarships for their college bound students; assists families financially struggling with finances to help get their bills paid while students are in school. Not only does Selinea take time out of her work schedule to help those in need, but she’s also a wife, mother of three and grandmother to three! She is truly a hero that needs to be recognized in our city/community!

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Erica Crutcher

Erica Crutcher is a legacy on her own, she is a wife, a hardworking mother of three and a model Veteran wife who has shown her strength after I was injured in the Army. I don’t know how but with that mind she masterfully built the first Aquatic farm in Bennett Colorado. She started with nothing family raised in near poverty no loans or grants out if bare pockets she made her dream come true, now because she was on rented land, the landowner foreclosed the property and she was forced to hault the work she created and had to shut it down . She also was ble to place four new jobs in Bennett that was promising.. I am so proud of what she accomplished for our family and our town of Bennett, she brought a great spirit around here, gave hope to my daughter she can do anything with heart, fight, determination, .. Yes my wife became the first Registered African American Farmer of Bennett Colorado July 24, 2017. There has been no other in Colorado!

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Janet Damon

Janet Rene Damon, Ed.S is a literacy engagement activist who has worked to empower families and support their access to libraries and collections that feature positive representation of diverse children and families.

She is an educator with over twenty years of experience working with students and families as a librarian and literacy consultant. Janet has taught U.S. History, Ethnic Studies, Literacy Intervention and Information Literacy with students K-12 and is currently the Library Services Specialist for the Denver Public Schools.

An experienced facilitator, she helps students, families, and community members build reading habits at home. increasing access to books and resources that support a child’s self-esteem, confidence, self-concept, and appreciation of their unique history and culture.

She is the founder of Afros and Books, a collective of librarians of color & LGBTQ+ staff who promote self-liberation through libraries. This team leads workshops and presentations on diverse books and culturally responsive librarianship. They have presented for the Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Conference, Denver Comicon, the National Joint Conference of Librarians of Color, Pikes Peak Library District, and School Library Journal.

Janet serves on the Board for Families Forward Resource Center, Write Our World, and SOAR Charter School. In her spare time she is a City Captain for Black Girls Hike and dances with the Intergenerational Women’s African Drum and Dance Ensemble (IWADDE) alongside her daughters. She also writes a multicultural motherhood and festival blog at mixmomma.com.

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Carolyn Lewis

Carolyn Lewis was born 12.21.1956 and raised in the beautiful Colorado springs area. Carolyn Lewis parents are Jack Lewis and Johnny B Lewis both were members of St.John Baptist located on the south side of colorado springs Jack was a Deacon at the church and Johnny was a well known cook for the church and her community. Carolyn Lewis legacy will never be forgotten. She is a strong black woman. Carolyn lewis is a phenomenal mother and grandmother, a teacher, a protector and provider. Carolyn lewis supports her youth black community on a daily basis she provides all helpful information and tips though out the community she attends high school and middle sports events and education programs meeting. This woman Carolyn sue Lewis must be nominated and acknowledg for her volunteer work and participation within her community. Without this phenomenal women with in our youth community our community would not be the same.

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Robin Gordon

Robin Gordon gas worked in Aurora Public Schools and with special classes at the Aurora Public Library for many years. She has brought arts into the schools by coaching step teams ans running afternoon school programs. She helps with fundraising in the community. Robin teach step teams and puts together competitions, the students enjoyed that. The competitions were also great fundraisers for the school.

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B.J. Joyce

B.J. Joyce is a Denver native and is pleased to call Denver home. He is a graduate of Denver East High School and wears the badge of an East Angel with pride. After graduating from a college out of state, he was eager to return back to Denver and begin his adult life in the Mile High City. B.J. is committed to living a life that reflects the love of Jesus in action, and desires to grow deeper in his faith. He is a husband, father, son, and friend. B.J. is an avid sports fan, but even more he is passionate about uplifting the Black community through Black business development and economics. He launched Black Biz CO (https://www.facebook.com/groups/DenverBlackOwned) in October 2020 in pursuit of his desire to strengthen, equip and unite Colorado’s Black community in a new way that would create a path of sustainable advancement for the present and future. B.J. is motivated to continue spearheading efforts that will create meaningful change in the Black community within the state of Colorado and beyond. Some “talk the talk,” B.J. Joyce “walks the walk” in finding countless ways to cultivate, support and illuminate Black economic empowerment across the Front Range!

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The Hon. Joseph R. Whitfield, Jr.

**UPDATED NOMINATION** The Honorable Joseph R. Whitfield, Jr. is a newly-appointed District Court Judge for the 18th Judicial District Court of Colorado. He previously spent the entirety of his legal career as an Assistant District Attorney for the 18th Judicial District. During his tenure he worked on more than 80 jury trials, argued before numerous judges and spoken with hundreds of defendants and victims on cases ranging from simple misdemeanors to complex felonies. Furthermore, Whitfield is a model citizen who has proven his dedication and commitment to serving the Colorado community previously serving as the President of the Sam Cary Bar Association, Colorado’s oldest minority bar association, and has also volunteered his time with the National Black Prosecutors Association, Uniform Law Commission and the Legal Redress Committee for the Aurora Chapter of the NAACP among other community service efforts. He serves on the executive board of Highline Academy Charter Schools and recently coached pee wee flag football for I9 sports. An avid sports fan, Whitfield is also a devoted husband and father.

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Hansford Vann Jr

Community relations giving minorities equality and Boulder county also incorporating programs through the University of Colorado for student s through Second Baptist Church in Boulder as the great emeritus pastor of over 39 years opening for prayer for the house of Senate many other accomplishments community

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Denise Leadon

Establish & Promote the education and celebration of the powerful Black History of Colorado. She is not only a board member of the BAWM & HC but an amazing voice, thought leader and action oriented member of many communities in which she champions the importance and power of not only reading about but positively contributing to the growing history in Denver and Colorado as a whole! She selflessly dedicates 100s of hours annually and never asks for anything in return!

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Cleo Patra Brown

My grandmother was a jazz artist in The Cotton club days she played with Louis Armstrong Benny Goodman and most of the top jazz artists of the days she took fat Wallace’s radio station when he left for other performances she moved to Colorado in the late 50s where she resided still as a musician but became of gospel legend me and her went to Atlanta Georgia to make an album that Marilyn Mcpartland invited us to participate Ray Charles and other big named artists adored her pinetop boogie woogie which she invented on the keyboards her soothing voice was also her proclaim

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William Gamble

Pastor William Gamble is a retired US Air Force Communications Officer. Pastor Gamble was a continuous member of the People’s United Methodist Church since 1994. Prior to that he worked in chapels and churches wherever he was assigned in the military. He is a licensed Local Pastor, certified by the District Committee on Ordained Ministry of the Rocky Mountain Conference, and is a Course of Study Program participant at the St Paul Theological seminary in Kansas, City, MO. He has been called upon to teach several Lay Speaking Basic and Advanced Courses in the Pikes Peak Sub-district. He has also served on various legislative committees at the Annual Conference, and currently serves as a board member/Secretary of the UMC Foundation for the Rocky Mountain Conference. Pastor Gamble was appointed to his present pastorate on July 1, 2009, and he served in that role until his retirement. As a visible member of the Colorado Springs Community, Pastor Gamble served as a member of the board for the Area Agency on Aging, Southern Colorado Black Roundtable (an advisory group to Governor Hickenlooper), El Pomar Black Advisory Council, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Chairman of the Colorado Springs Black Leadership Forum, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Bro. William Gamble served admirably as the lead facilitator for the Alpha Phi Alpha Iota Omicron Lambda Chapter Thanksgiving Basket Giveaway for several years.

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Margaret Mccaskill

My Grandmother Mrs. Margaret Mccaskill has left a legacy of being an educator and a Pastor. She is well known in the black community as Ms. Margaret. She has educated several of my friends during as a childhood educator. She has served in the church community and is currently a pastor at Shorter AME in Denver, CO.

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Justus Morgan

Justus Morgan, a member of the Palmer High School Hall of Fame, became pastor of Morgan Memorial Chapel Church of God in Christ, which his father started. My pastor Justus B. Morgan. Besides his 30-year career in a Civil Service job at Fort Carson, Justus Morgan, whose pitching anchored the Bombers’ championships, took over his dad’s church as a pastor, and remains a foundation in his faith community.
Over 80 years , Pastor and his Family have dedicated their life to Ministry. His father the Senior Chester E. Morgan, founded Morgan Memorial Chapel Church of God in Christ in 1918.

Many Families in the community, military and some just passing through have found a home, a place of worship, a place of deliverance and a place to find peace in their weekly routine.

Pastor Morgan has been active with NAACP over years past. He is a man of prayer, sound faith and is known as a pillar founded by our Lord and Savior Jesus to follow the direction of Christ for the Church Family and the community.

Some of the youngest members have been with the Church for over 40 years. Others have been members for more than 60 years. Our Pastor is an humble man, who lives the life, and leads as he’s directed by Christ. Tradition is fine, but his way of leading is known to be dynamic, simply because he doesn’t make a move without the direction of Christ.
“I thought about how they were treated like second-class citizens and how different their lives were in 1949, only two years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in the major leagues. And it occurred to me, this was a team full of Jackie Robinsons.”

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Carolyn Lewis

Carolyn Lewis legacy will never be forgotten. She is a strong black woman a Carolyn is a phenomenal mother and grandmother, a teacher, a protector and provider. Carolyn supports her black community on a daily basis she provides all helpful information and tips though out the community she attends high school and middle sports events and education programs meets. This woman Carolyn sue Lewis must be nominated and Carolyn Lewis must be acknowledg for her volunteer work and participation within her community. Without this phenomenal women with in our youth community our community would not be the same.

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Carrie L. Barnhill

Publisher of Minority & Black Directories in Colorado Springs & Local Historian

A life dedicated to God, family, and community; the first thing you’ll notice when you meet Carrie L. Barnhill is the look of modest contentment and compassion in her eyes.

Born in Bernice, Louisiana, Barnhill began her civil service when she joined the Air Force as a stenographer. After 22 years of service, she retired from the military as a Master Sergeant and earned numerous awards, including the Meritorious Service Award, Outstanding Unit Award, and the National Defense Award.

As is common for those who serve in the military, Barnhill was stationed in the Springs in 1967. Enamored by its western charm and beauty, Barnhill moved back permanently in 1980. She worked for Young’s Janitorial Service until 1996. Then she attended Robinson Business College and Pike’s Peak Community College to become a social worker.

Upon realizing there was a lack of representation for minority-owned Small Businesses, Barnhill’s Enterprises Inc. published its first El Paso County Minority Business and professional Directory in 1987, followed by the Afro-Americana Directory in 1994. in 1999 Barnhill founded her flagship enterprise, Barnhill’s Janitorial Service

Barnhill was a member of the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce, The Pike’s Peak Black Chamber of commerce, The Urban League of the Pikes Peak Region, the Small Business Advisory Council, NAACP, The Black Chamber of Commerce, El Paso County Republicans, The Disabled American Veterans the Retired Enlisted Association, Women in the Air Force ,Alpha Theta Kappa, and was the Mother of the Progress Church of God and Christ.

The Black Directory
Barnhill’s Enterprises was conceived in 1986. Its only goal was to publish a directory about minority business and professional entrepreneurs in order to fill a void in local information sourced. In 1994 Barnhill’s Enterprises saw a need to publish an Afro-Americana Directory to complete a long–term objective and goal of helping to keep Colorado Springs, Colorado as well as others informed if the great accomplishments minorities were making in this great city.

The void existed because major directories do not distinguish between Afro-Americans and other businesses; The cost of advertising in directories was far beyond the financial means of many members of minority group; None of the directories specifically list churches, organizations, and social groups in such a manner that military members of minority groups and non-military people “new” to the area will be able to find groups to join; There are no centralized areas where members of specific minority groups live or have their businesses;’ Other directories do not provide an immediate guide to minority business for use of city, county, state, or federal government agencies. These agencies were required to make attempts to assure that minority businesses were aware of and encouraged to submit bids. This directory helped to bridge the gap

There was no charge for minority businesses to be listed in the directory, however if you wanted a copy you would have to pay for it.
Sales for the of the directory at its reasonable price did not generate sufficient income to cover the expenses; therefor , additional income was raised through support of sponsors, advertising, government, corporations and other donations.

In addition to being a good information resource, the directory was also a record of history of the various types of businesses, churches, social and civic organizations.

Barnhills Publications

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June Waller

June Waller
Written by the citizensproject.org in 2014

Most people know of June C. Waller as an essential part of our Colorado Springs community. Her involvement and commitment to the vitality of the community is unparalleled. June, a long-time resident of Colorado Springs is the proud mother of three daughters, six grandchildren and thirteen great-grandchildren. June received her Bachelor’s degree in business from UCCS and acquired additional education at the University of Northern Colorado in the field of communications. She is an alumnus of Leadership Pikes Peak and has attended the Center for Creative Leadership twice in two different decades. June’s career has centered on management of affordable housing within Housing Authorities and private-owned housing for over 35 years. Now a retiree, her responsibilities included strategic planning, personnel training, staff and residents counseling on sustainable quality of life improvements, research and composed presentations to community groups both military and non-military on housing environments. June’s expertise has been recognized in her appointment by Governor Lamm to the Nominating Commission for the selection of District and County judges. The first female to sit on the District Court came during her tenure. Currently she sits on the Citizen’s Transportation Advisory Board (CTAB) as an appointee by City Council to represent the new City Council District #4. Additionally, her knowledge is requested and welcomed amongst all types of local community groups. June’s recent involvement includes participation in League of Women Voters, Administration Team; Colorado Prince Hall Foundation, Vice-Chair. She sits as a member of; District 11 Foundation, Savvy Seniors, NAACP Executive Committee, Citizens Transportation Advisory Board, Black/Hispanic Coalition, and the Police Chief Citizen’s Advisory Board. As of September she created at the Hillside Community Center and the Savvy Senior’s office a service to the community, Southside Community Resource Services as a means to distribute community information to seniors and families.

 

June launched the Colorado Springs Chapter of Colorado Black Women for Political Action in Colorado Springs, which is still active today.

June was a part of the Consultant VI, where were a team of amazing locals from Colorado Springs who published a monthly pamphlet called the marketplace. The marketplace highlights black business and events in Colorado springs, and help the community collaborate better with each other. the team members for the Market Place included: Jacqueline M Shepard (Editor), Beverly Pegues ( Report Director), Franklin Clay (Reporter), Doris McCullough Advertising), June Waller (Community Affairs), Franklin Clay (Subscription/Distribution)

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Dr. Anthony P Young | Tutmose Academy

Black Education Pioneer & Charter School​

Why did you launch the school?

In 1990, the Tutmose Academy was initially named the Inroads Family and Community Services organization. In the beginning, the mission was to mentor high-risk kids who had been expelled from the traditional education system, however it was illegal for these troubled children to go to charter schools in Colorado at that time. Eventually, the laws changed, and the state provided financial backing to help work with kids who were on probation and to provide life skills training for programs such as anger management and critical thinking. In addition to teachers, we also had paid mentors who were on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All of our clients were young men between the ages of 13 and 18 who were on probation and were sent to our program as an alternative to youth detention facilities. Even though our school was open to all, my focus was really to impact the lives of young African Americans.

What were some accomplishments you are proud of?

We were the first charter school in the Harrison School District in Colorado Springs. In 1999, we were presented with the El Pomar Foundation “Excellence in Education” award, which recognized our unique model that assisted these youth who were in need.

In fact, on the C-SAP test, which was the standardized test for public schools, we beat two local high schools in reading and math. It was a significant accomplishment because these were kids who society had discarded. We were able to demonstrate that through a unique program, we could have students perform at high levels and improve their behavior. Many of them had previously been in trouble with the Juvenile Justice System.

Our students wore uniforms to avoid wearing gang attire. This also gave them a sense of dignity since some of them could not afford nice clothes. Occasionally, I see some of the students from our first graduating class, and I am proud to say, are pursuing productive lives. The most significant achievement was helping teenagers create positive futures despite the odds and challenges of their childhood.

Unfortunately, because of the lack of resources,our charter school closed. However many are grateful for the years we provided this service to our community which changed the trajectory of the lives of so many young people.

Interview By the Editor in Chief, Brandon Bornes

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Black American West Museum & Heritage Center

Dr. Justina Ford “The Lady Doctor”

Dr. Justina Laurena Ford was the first Black Woman Licensed Physician to practice in Denver, Colorado from 1902 – 1952. Indeed her mother’s daughter, who was a nurse. And by her, Dr. Ford’s blooming interest in obstetrics and homeopathic care was cultivated as she accompanied her mother when she tended to patients some years after the Civil War. As an adult, the young apprentice would later expound upon her mother’s novice teachings at Hering Medical College, from which she graduated in 1899. She had married Baptist Minister, John Ford in 1892, who first move to Denver to minister at Zion Baptist Church. Dr. Ford joined him in 1902, whereafter settling in she received her Colorado medical license.

Although Dr. Ford was sufficiently credentialed with a medical doctorate and licensure to practice in Illinois, Alabama, and Colorado, she was still discriminately denied admission to the Colorado Medical Association; an admittance without which one could not legally practice medicine within a hospital. Her case being such, Dr. Ford industriously purchased her now historic, Ïtaliante-style Victorian in 1911, wherefrom she established a private home-based practice.

For half a century, Dr. Ford served a diverse client base of more than 37 nationalities, which included American Indians, African-Americans, poor White-Americans, and immigrants of numerous descents who were either turned away from hospitals for lack of documentation or their inability to communicate in English. Or, whose women preferred mid-wives to the presence of a male doctor during labor.

By Dr. Ford’s hands, thousands of men and women healed of their afflictions, and the diverseness of her clientele made her multilingual in more than seven languages. As notoriety of her medicinal mastery expanded, Dr. Ford became affectionately regarded as “The Lady Doctor,” and to others, “The Baby Doctor.”  She would pioneer many holistic treatments and safely deliver an estimated 7000 babies (1 baby every three days) during her revolutionary career.

After forty-eight years of practice, Dr. Ford penned a final, compelling letter of appeal. She asked that her refusal of admittance to the Colorado Medical Association be overturned, and listed the number of babies she had delivered to date, as well as the many medical services she administered from her home. To this request, the CMA at long last conceded. Dr. Ford was finally allowed admission to the association in January 1950. As well, she was accepted to the American Medical Association.

At age 81, Dr. Ford became ill and eventually succumbed to kidney failure as a result of hypertension in 1952. Wonderfully, her death would mean only the physical cessation of her body for her legacy vibrantly survives in the memories of her patients, within the colorful chronicles of the Five Points community, and by anyone who has derived from Dr. Ford’s success, the courage to persist in the face of extreme injustice.

Most remarkably, Dr. Ford remained a loving woman, unresentful of the hatred and intolerance which those in power upheld for her. Before her death, Dr. Ford was quoted, “When all the fears, hate, and even some death is over, we will really be brothers as God intended us to be in this land. This I believe. For this, I have worked all my life”.

After her death, Dr. Ford’s house stood, emitting a vibrancy of fond remembrance and hope to neighboring homes and businesses for thirty-two years. In 1984, Dr. Ford’s house risked demolition as developers sought to gentrify the area in which it was built. Thus, it was moved at the behest of lobbyists who would see the historical home saved and uniquely repurposed as an exhibition of Black history. And so it was, after renovations, hours of volunteered and sponsored laboring, Dr. Ford’s home was reopened at 3091 California Street, in the heart of the local culture now known as “Five Points,” as the Black American West Museum.

Present Day

Today the museum houses relics of other African Americans’ significance in shaping the Colorado we know today. Their artifacts chronicle periods between 1860 – 1950 (Civil War to WWII). Visitors are permitted reasonably priced admission to a self-guided tour of Dr. Ford’s two-story, five-bedroom home wherein one can find the very room from which she practiced and survey her medical instruments in pristine condition.

Other treasures to discover include original uniforms worn by the Buffalo Soldiers and Tuskegee Airmen, and shoes worn by some of the first freed slaves who migrated to Colorado and settled their families amid their new liberation. Coats which the early Black settlers made of bear fur and buffalo skin, primitive wagon wheels, primeval gardening tools, and archaic weaponry fashioned and utilized by people of color during the wars, are also waiting to impress the interest of history hunters.

Factual excerpts about numerous African Americans’ inventions and successes are posted throughout the home, whose discoveries are as illuminating today as they were groundbreaking in the inventor’s heyday. From these postings, it is learned that Garrett Morgan, (1877), invented the gas mask and innovated the traffic signal to include the yellow (warning) light. And, that Jack Johnson (1878), who at the height of the Jim Crow era became the first Black Heavy Weight Champion, also patented the wrench! Likewise, Lewis Lattimore (1848), invented the carbon filament for the incandescent light bulb. He also drafted the first telephone drawings, with which the inventor Alexander Graham Bell would later apply for a patent.

What’s more is, if you’ve ever wondered how the saying, “The real McCoy” was coined, the museum will proudly introduce you to Elijah McCoy (1844); a Black engineer who patented over 57 inventions during his life, most having to do with the lubrication of steam engines. His most famous patent was the creation of an apparatus which collected oil that dripped from running trains and simultaneously spread it back over the train engine while in motion. This invention allowed trains to run for longer durations without stopping, which saved time and lessened costs. Over time, others tried to emulate Elijah’s design, but all imitations paled in comparison. As such, train owners and operators when seeking to repair or replace engine parts, would tell distributors they want “the real McCoy.”

Many more historical gems await unearthing when and if a seeker would only return home.