Moya Hansen

Independent Historian

Moya Hansen focused her graduate studies at the University of Colorado at Denver on Denver’s African American population and the Five Points area. As a long-time staff member of the Colorado Historical Society, she implemented the organization’s African American Advisory Council in 1992 and was project director for It’s Jazz!: Black Musicians in Colorado, 1890 – 1950 and Buffalo Soldiers West. Her participation in the series of videos produced by the Alice G. Reynolds Memorial Fund on the activities of Denver’s Congress on Racial Equality has acquainted her with Denverites’ efforts to integrate the community and promote racial equality in the 1960s.

Henry O. Wagoner (1816-1901)

Image Ownership: Public Domain Born in 1816 in Maryland to a freed slave mother and a German father, Henry O. Wagoner (often spelled Waggoner) had the benefit of a brief exposure to education in Pennsylvania. This limited education gave him a base for further self-education … Read MoreHenry O. Wagoner (1816-1901)

William Jefferson Hardin (1831-1889)

Image Ownership: Public Domain One of Colorado Territory’s most interesting African American citizens spoke eloquently on behalf of black suffrage between 1863 and 1873, a decade of great debate on this particular subject. William Jefferson Hardin had been born to a free quadroon woman and … Read MoreWilliam Jefferson Hardin (1831-1889)

George L. Brown (1926-2005)

Image Ownership: Public Domain Although George L. Brown was born and raised in Lawrence, Kansas, he played a significant roll in Colorado politics for nearly twenty-five years.  Following his graduation from the University of Kansas with a degree in journalism in 1950, Brown moved to … Read MoreGeorge L. Brown (1926-2005)

Dr. Justina Ford (1871-1952)

The child who would become Denver, Colorado’s first and only woman doctor in the early decades of the twentieth century was born in Knoxville, Illinois on January 22, 1871. Her mother, Melisia Warren, had acted as a practical nurse to other slaves and sustained the … Read MoreDr. Justina Ford (1871-1952)

John H. Stuart (1854-1910)

The citizens of Colorado elected their first African American legislator in 1894, eighteen years after gaining statehood in 1876.  The man they elected, Joseph H. Stuart, came to the United States from the British West Indies where he had been born in 1854.  He studied … Read MoreJohn H. Stuart (1854-1910)

Joseph D.D.Rivers (1856?-1937)

Joseph D.D. Rivers’ name appeared on the second page of The Colorado Statesman (1895–1961), a respected African American weekly newspaper, as editor and publisher for nearly forty years.  Rivers started the paper in 1895 and worked diligently to print news from around the country as … Read MoreJoseph D.D.Rivers (1856?-1937)

Hattie McDaniel (1895-1952)

Hattie McDaniel is best known as the first black Oscar winner.  She won the award on February 29, 1940, for Best Supporting Actress for her role as “Mammy” in Gone With the Wind. McDaniel’s career began three decades earlier.  She gave her first public performances as a grade school … Read MoreHattie McDaniel (1895-1952)

George Morrison (1891-1974)

George Morrison dreamed of playing violin with a major orchestra.  As things stood for black musicians in the early twentieth century, that dream would remain unrealized.  Born in Fayette, Missouri, on September 9, 1891, Morrison came from a musical family and at an early age … Read MoreGeorge Morrison (1891-1974)

Denver’s Five Points

Denver, Colorado’s Five Points community originated in the 1880s as an upper middle-class neighborhood for professional and business men.  The city built one of its first cable streetcar lines into the area and numerous neighborhood businesses emerged along its tracks. White residents initially occupied the … Read MoreDenver’s Five Points