Home > 107th Congressional Bills > H.Res. 54 (ih) Commemorating African American pioneers in Colorado. [Introduced in House] ...

H.Res. 54 (ih) Commemorating African American pioneers in Colorado. [Introduced in House] ...

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H. Res. 54

                 In the House of Representatives, U.S.,

                                                     February 28, 2001.
Whereas February is Black History Month, a month-long celebration for Americans 
        to reflect on both the history and teachings of African Americans whose 
        contributions are still too little known;
Whereas Black History Month was started in 1976 and February was chosen because 
        the birthdays of both Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln fall in 
        that month;
Whereas African Americans were an integral part of settling the West, arriving 
        in covered wagons, establishing self-sufficient settlements, and filling 
        numerous jobs from barber to teacher, doctor to State legislator;
Whereas nearly one-third of the cowboys who helped build the American West were 
        of African American descent;
Whereas one of the best examples of an African American prairie settlement is 
        Dearfield, Colorado, an African American agriculture community;
Whereas Oliver T. Jackson, an African American, inspired by Booker T. 
        Washington's book Up From Slavery that urged African Americans to return 
        to the land and earn their own way with their own hands, took these 
        ideas to heart and established Dearfield, Colorado, in 1910;
Whereas Oliver T. Jackson inspired 60 African American settlers to join in his 
        agriculture colony, live off the land, and become self-sufficient;
Whereas within 5 years, Dearfield, Colorado, had 44 wooden cabins, over 600 farm 
        acres, 2 churches, a school, a boarding house, a blacksmith shop, a 
        doctor's office, a cement factory, and a filling station;
Whereas Oliver T. Jackson and those at Dearfield, Colorado, reached their goal 
        of becoming a prosperous, self-sufficient community, with a peak 
        population of 700;
Whereas by the mid-1930's, plagued by drought and the Great Depression, the 
        community dwindled down to 12, including Oliver T. Jackson and his wife; 
Whereas Dearfield, Colorado, was subsequently abandoned and is now in need of 
        restoration in order to help fulfill the goal of Black History Month and 
        educate Americans about the role of African Americans in the settling of 
        the American West: Now, therefore, be it
    Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
            (1) encourages all Americans to learn about the history of African 
        Americans whose contributions are still too little known;
            (2) recognizes the role that African Americans, like those at 
        Dearfield, Colorado, greatly contributed to settling and shaping the 
        American West; and
            (3) supports the restoration of the site at Dearfield, Colorado, in 
        order to educate the American public about the history and contributions 
        of African Americans to the West and the United States.


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