Black American West Museum to celebrate Dr. Justina Ford

Free live-stream event to honor Colorado’s first Black female physician

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The Black American West Museum is inviting the public to celebrate Dr. Justina Ford with a free live-stream event on Jan. 22.

Ford was Colorado’s first licensed Black female physician, best known for her obstetrics and pediatric work. However, because of her race and gender, she was denied access to practice medicine at local hospitals, and until her death in 1952, Ford’s home in Five Points served as her medical office.

Ford treated anyone who needed medical care, and many of her patients were those who faced discrimination at city hospitals because of race and/or economic class. She would accept services and food items in lieu of payment, and “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,” states a news release.

Ford’s home eventually was moved and now hosts Black American West Museum, 3091 California St. Ford was inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame in 1985.

The live-stream event celebrates Ford’s 150th birthday and the issuance of a mayoral proclamation naming Jan. 22, 2021, as Dr. Justina Ford Day. The two-hour event will showcase birthday greetings and interviews from Ford’s remaining patients and community organizations; as well as performances such as a reenactment of Ford’s only known interview and the first-ever public display of her handwritten letter to the Colorado Medical Society that documents her delivery of 7,000 babies in her 50-year career.

The broadcast is sponsored by Denver Community Media with financial support from the Bank of Colorado and US Bank.

The live-stream takes place at noon on Jan. 22. It is free and will be available on the Black American West Museum’s website, www.bawmhc.org, and Denver Community Media on Comcast Channels 56, 57 and 881 HD.

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