Racism is part of Colorado history. Let’s learn from it.

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The truth about Colorado and America’s racial history is there, especially in three recent and well-researched books by talented authors. Recommended for your summer reading is “Grant, “Forget the Alamo, “and”Holly. “

Two hundred years ago the border between Mexico and the United States crossed Colorado and extended in parts of Kansas, Wyoming and Oregon. The hard-fought Mexican War of Independence from Spain in 1821 gave him control of the Old West, including Texas and Colorado, if you forget the Native Americans.

Do you remember the Alamo? Mexico, led by Santa Anna, won this battle on March 6, 1836, but ultimately lost to the Texans who formed the Republic of Texas (1836-1846), which included part of Colorado.

Craig silverman

America’s annexation of Texas in 1846 sparked the Mexican-American War and provided the South with another slave state. The US Army won the Mexican-American War in 1848. It was in 1850 when America compensated Texas for its Colorado land claims, and bring Colorado fully into Territorial America.

Among the military officers who won this Mexican-American war was young Ulysses S. Grant, a West Point graduate from humble Ohio origins. Most Americans know Grant only for the heroism of the Civil War, alcohol and the $ 50 bill.

But there is so much more to this brilliant and courageous family man. Renowned biographer Ron Chernow’s 2018 book, “Grant, amazed by the revelations on the 18e President. While dying, Grant provided historians with excellent research material by writing his own extraordinary memories. History is built on history. There is no such thing as a primary source.

During the civil unrest last summer, Grant’s statue in San Francisco was recklessly destroyed. President Grant was a pillar of civil rights. Frederick Douglass praised Grant as “a man too large to be prejudiced, too human to despise the humblest, too big to be small at all times.” In him, the Negro has found a protector, the Indian a friend, a vanquished enemy a brother, a nation in peril a savior.

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Grant scorned slavery and came to regret the Mexican-American war he had fought valiantly. Grant saw this war as an imperialist Texas land grab started by a Tennessee slave owner and an expansionist-minded president. James polk. Grant called him “the most unjust (war) ever waged by a stronger nation against a weaker nation.” Grant understood the implications of slavery.

Thirty years after Texas gained statehood, President Grant controversially made Colorado a state on August 1, 1876, only after being assured Colorado would allow black people to vote. Colorado’s earlier opposition to black suffrage scuttled its 1867 candidacy for the state.

President Grant visited Colorado before and after his time in the White House. Grant’s first The vice-president was Schuyler Colfax, a frequent visitor to Denver. Reading “Grant”Would be a great way to celebrate Colorado’s 145the birthday.

But please remember the Alamo. In “Forget the Alamo, the rise and fall of an American myth, ” three English-speaking historians with deep ties to Texas expose the embarrassing Texas truths surrounding this US-Mexico conflict. False stories have been passed on to America’s baby boomers in Disney’s Davy Crockett and disinformation movies like John Wayne’s “The Alamo. “

We have all been made to believe that Davy and his friends were fighting for freedom. John Wayne films a deceptive prologue announce that Generalissimo Santa Anna “was crushing all those who opposed his tyrannical rule” and that the brave defenders of Alamo had chosen to fight to the death rather than submit.

But what was the fighting really all about? No one taught me in school that Bowie, Crockett, Travis, and their transplanted Southern colleagues fought primarily for slavery. “Forget the AlamoIs convincing on this key point.

Mexico had successfully revolted against racist Spain, which punished Mexicans based on the color of their skin. Mexico then abolition of slavery. The Texas uprising was mounted by transplanted American southerners who cultivated cotton in Texas with slaves. In fact. Juneteenth – now a federal holiday – marks the day in 1865 that Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, and informed state residents that slavery had been abolished.

Education on the role of slavery in the Texas uprising is taboo in Texas, where the “heroic Anglo” myth is perpetuated by right-wing politicians and statutes. “Forget the Alamo”Is a fascinating and well-researched book which penetrate public consciousness much to the dismay of the Republicans in Texas.

Denver’s racial history is superbly explored in Julian Rubinstein’s fascinating new book, The Holly – Five Bullets, One Pistol, and the Fight to Save an American Neighborhood. ”

Northeast Denver is the primary setting for this page turner, which is why black people populated Five Points and Park Hill. Rubinstein discusses the black flight of southern America, the past of the Colorado Klan, redness and court-ordered school desegregation.

To write ” HollyRubinstein went deep into the ongoing gang warfare in Denver. Rubinstein tells the story from the perspective of former gang member Terrance Roberts.

” Holly”Is full of suspense, so no spoils here. Get ready to receive new information and point fingers at many well-known people in Colorado. The repercussions of the book’s accusations still reverberate in what Rubinstein calls “invisible Denver”.

Decide if systemic racism has fueled Denver gangs after listening to the audiobook version of “Holly. “Rubinstein tells cleverly with an interesting mix of recordings from Denver, voice actors and Terrance Roberts.

America and Colorado can handle the truths in these three books. Racism brings out the worst in some people and the best in others. We must not hide from history. Let’s educate ourselves and learn the right lessons.


Craig Silverman is a former Denver Deputy Chief DA who has also worked in the media for decades. Craig is a freelance columnist for the Colorado Sun. He practices law at the law firm of Denver Springer & Steinberg, PC and is the host of The Craig Silverman Show podcast.


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