History Colorado unveils tribute to Five Points

Cool jazz and warm family ties define historic neighborhood

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In late June, the History Colorado museum opened a small but potent new show celebrating the Five Points neighborhood — Denver’s famous pre-war jazz mecca and center of Black middleclass life.

TitledFive Points Plus: Neighborhood Memory Project,” the exhibit brings Black history alive with a mural by local artist Adri Norris, vintage photos, historic memorabilia and recordings of community storytellers.

As today’s explosive growth and rapid gentrification transform Denver, Five Points Plus reflects the museum’s effort to preserve and learn from the city’s past. The show is part of History Colorado’s “Building Denver,” an 18-month initiative that includes exhibits, walking tours and a podcast. A design retrospective asks the question: Is this the city we had in mind? “The Museum of Memory” collection is stocked with recordings of oral history from long-term Five Points residents along with many other Colorado communities. These recordings can be accessed at http://soundcloud.com/historycolorado. “Five Points Plus” was created with the help of Five Points community members, the Black American West Museum and Heritage Center and the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library.

“Five Points Plus” runs until Nov. 1 at the History Colorado Center, 1200 N. Broadway in Denver.

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