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Author of book on Cotton Club founder to speak at History Center May 14

This painting by the late Colorado Springs artist Shirley Mitton depicts Fannie Mae Duncan's Cotton Club as it looked around the 1950s. The club was located on the south side of Colorado Avenue, between Cascade Avenue and Sahwatch Street. All these buildings have since been torn down.
Westside Pioneer photo of painting by Shirley Mitton
The Old Colorado City History Center will host a presentation Saturday, May 14 by Kathleen Esmiol about Fannie Mae Duncan, who founded and ran the Cotton Club in downtown Colorado Springs for about 30 years.
       Titled “Everybody Welcome,” the program will start at 11 a.m. The center is at 1 S. 24th St. Admission is free for members of the Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS), $5 for non-members.
       A black woman, Duncan started her business in the late 1940s, during the “separate but equal” era for black Americans. She overturned that convention by making the Cotton Club, which attracted nationally known black entertainers, open to people of all color. This led to the “everybody welcome” theme.
       Duncan died in 2005. A middle school teacher, Esmiol had met her about a dozen years earlier as part of a class project. Her eventual book is titled “Everybody Welcome - A Memoir of Fannie Mae Duncan and the Cotton Club.”
       An all-volunteer organization, the OCCHS welcomes new members. For more information, call 636-1225 or come by the center during working hours, Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Westside Pioneer/press release
(Posted 5/6/16; Community: Old Colorado City History Center)

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