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In honor of Black History Month, we are highlighting Fannie Mae Duncan, the first African American woman to succeed as an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and community activist in Colorado Springs. Through her founding of the Cotton Club, Duncan brought jazz legends such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Etta James, and B.B. King to the Springs. As she employed a multi-ethnic staff and attracted a racially diverse clientele the sign in the window of the Club, “Everybody Welcome” meant just that. She went on to open a 42-room mansion to create accommodations for African American guests since many hotels still had racial restrictions.  Ms. Duncan was posthumously inducted into the Colorado Womens Hall of Fame in 2012. Read more about her incredible life and legacy here.

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Photo Courtesy of the Pikes Peak Library District