African American leaders honored with portraits

It was an auspiscious occasion on Feb. 10 when several key figures in Colorado’s African-American community were honored with portraits at the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library. The dedication ceremony, which took place in the middle of Black History Month, was hosted by former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb and friends of the iconic library located in Five Points.

State House Speaker Terrance Carroll poses with his portrait. (Wearing the same tie as in the photograph was merely coincidental, he said.)
Photo by Brad Jones/The Colorado Statesman

“I feel way too young to have my portrait hanging here,” remarked Colorado House Speaker Terrance Carroll during the unveiling “but I know I stand on the shoulders of giants.” He was dressed in the same attire at the dedication ceremony as when he posed for the official portrait.

Other honorees included Wilma Webb, Denver’s former first lady and state representative who worked tirelessly to have Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday turned into a state holiday, Peter Groff, first black president of the state Senate, and Denver’s first elected Clerk and Recorder, Stephanie O’Malley. Groff, an appointee in the Obama administration, was unable to attend the event because he was stuck in Washington, D.C. during the recent snow storm. Denver City Councilman Michael Hancock spoke on Groff’s behalf.

Wellington Webb, president of the library committee which oversaw the selection of the honorees, was Denver’s first black mayor.

The mission of the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library is to serve as an educational and cultural resource, focusing on the history, literature, art, music, religion and politics of African Americans in Colorado and throughout the Rocky Mountain West. From early pioneers to present-day heroes, visitors can follow the footsteps of African Americans who settled the west.

And now they can look at the portraits of four current day political pioneers.