As we celebrate Black History Month this February, let me introduce you to two giants in Colorado history, Edna and John Mosley.
Edna Mosley was the first African American to be elected in Aurora when she won a City Council seat in 1991. She had been involved with a variety of community activities and was victorious for an at-large seat as a Black woman. I first met her when I was part of a team chosen to provide Federal lobbying services for Aurora in 1994.
The primary reason Aurora needed a lobbyist was to oppose closer of the Fitzsimons Army Medical Center and then to advocate for its redevelopment when it was clear it would no longer be an Army hospital. As an integral part of the military community and a city councilwoman, Edna was one of the leaders in our efforts. The first time we went to Washington together, she mentioned that she’d need some time to herself to visit her niece. It wasn’t until we had gotten home that she let it slip that her niece was California Congresswoman Maxine Waters. The fact that her niece was one of the most powerful members of Congress wasn’t as important as that being in Washington was an opportunity to see her.
And that was Edna Mosley in a nutshell. She was a lady in every sense of the word. She was among the most gracious people I’ve ever known, but in her own quiet way, also among the toughest. She was smart, driven, strategic and always motivated to make things better for others. She was a founder of the Woman’s Bank and has been inducted into both the Colorado Black Hall of Fame and Aurora Women’s Hall of Fame.
When I first met John, he just told me he was Edna’s husband, but as I got to know him, he (somewhat reluctantly) gave me more insights. He was a Tuskegee Airman and a pilot in World War II who had retired as a Lt. Colonel. He had been a National Merit Scholar. In college at what was then Colorado A&M, he was the first Black football letterman, was on the wrestling team and was later inducted into the CSU Athletics Hall of Fame. I was there when he was inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in 2009.
Since their deaths, Edna in 2014 and John in 2015, their contributions continue to be remembered. A P-8 school in Aurora bears their names and is a daily inspiration to children to achieve things and provide service like John and Edna. An outpatient clinic at Fitzsimons is named for John. When the Stapleton neighborhood in northeast Denver was renamed, one of the final names considered was Mosley.
Colorado is a better place because of Edna and John Mosley and their accomplishments. As we celebrate Black History Month, we should remember them and their service to our state and country.
Greg Romberg had a long career in state and local government and in government relations. He represented corporate, government and trade association clients before federal, state and local governments. He lives in Evergreen with his wife, Laurie.