Celebrating Black History…

When it comes to Black History, Denver’s got plenty.  Jazz fans know the Five Points neighborhood was considered the “Harlem of the West” due to its active jazz scene and nightlife along Welton Street. The “Queen City of the Plains” also has one of only five public library branches nationwide with a specific focus on Black history – the Blair-Caldwell African-American Research Library, also on Welton Street, where Charleszine “Terry” Nelson is the Senior Special Collection and Community Resource Manager.

Her three decades of library experience include being a bookmobile librarian, manager of the library film center, and being a reference librarian.  Nelson is the ultimate tour guide through the decades of Colorado history, as well as national and African history. Collections at the Blair-Caldwell Library include pristine copies of the Black Panther newspaper (Denver had an active chapter back in the day) and a large collection of Jet Magazines. The Archives include countless photos, audio, and video oral histories, and manuscripts. Many of the collections are open to the public, including the African-American Collection, the Genealogy Collection, and the Western History Collection. It’s the definition of the deep dive into Colorado’s Black history.

The Blair-Caldwell facility has become a community hub, hosting events in the third-floor Charles Cousins Gallery. And right next door to the library is Cousins Plaza, which hosts free concerts and summer farmers markets, and Sonny Lawson Park and ballfield.

A Denver native, Manual High School, and University of Colorado – Boulder graduate, Terry Nelson nurtures the community roots of the Library with an active volunteer team.  She literally co-authored a book on how to engage volunteers in the work of libraries. She also shares her talents with the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Colorado Holiday Commission, her sorority (Alpha Kappa Alpha), and The Links, Inc.

You’ve got questions? Terry Nelson has answers, or she can point you in the right direction. It’s great to have an expert research librarian in the neighborhood!

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