Dr. Justina Ford delivered generations of Denver babies — now you can deliver for her. As part of a competition to help secure necessary funds for the Dr. Justina Ford Home, an Open House will allow the Denver community to experience the home for FREE on Saturday, October 5 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Guests can tour the house (which now serves as home of the Black American West Museum), meet historic re-enactors, enjoy food trucks and live entertainment. A special performance by The Spirituals Project choir will take place at 2 p.m.
From noon to 4 p.m., live voting will take place to help the Dr. Justina Ford home win a nationwide competition to secure $150,000.
These funds are part of the Partners in Preservation campaign, created by American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which seeks to increase the public’s awareness of historic preservation in the US and to preserve America’s historic and culture places.
In 2019, to mark the upcoming 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment, Partners in Preservation will focus on historic buildings and sites that celebrate the contributions of women in Main Street communities across America, both historic and modern day.
The Ford home, saved by the Five Points community and Historic Denver in 1984, represents one of Denver’s most notable figures, as Dr. Ford was the first licensed female African American doctor in the city. Because of her race and gender, she was denied access to practice medicine at local hospitals.
Instead, her sturdy 1890 Italianate-style home near Welton Street, once the main street for Denver’s African American Community, served as her medical office from 1911-1952.
Many of Dr. Ford’s patients faced similar discrimination at city hospitals due to race and economic class. Dr. Ford often accepted services and food items in lieu of payment. When she did a house call to a home that was lacking in food or heat, she often sent a basket of groceries or coal following her visit.
She is best known for her obstetrics and pediatric work, and many patients knew her as the “Baby Doctor”. In fact, she delivered more than 7,000 babies during her 50 years as a doctor in Denver.
If the Black American West Museum wins the competition, the $150,000 award will be used to complete necessary repairs to the masonry and historic windows at the museum.
A recent assessment identified these two areas as the next crucial steps to protect the home, and ensure its rich collection of Black history is safe so the museum can remain a place of learning and a symbol of the Black experience in the West.
As the only site in Colorado competing, the Black American West Museum and Historic Denver needs the Denver community to vote to earn the funds and secure a Denver legacy. Go here and vote for the Black American West Museum. The organization with the top number of votes will receive the funding, so help Dr. Ford’s home by voting daily until October 29th.
The Black America West Museum is at 3091 California St., Denver.