UNC to Host Conference on Historic African-American Community

The University of Northern Colorado will host a conference Saturday, Feb. 18, focusing on current preservation efforts at Dearfield, the once-thriving African-American agricultural community 23 miles east of Greeley.

The first-ever Dearfield Dream Conference, which is free and open to the public, will be 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Feb. 18 in the Columbine Suites at the University Center, intersection of 20th Avenue and 10th Street. Free parking will be available in adjacent lots.

The conference will feature speakers and displays on Dearfield's historical background and presentations on ongoing studies in archaeology, analyses of historic documents and photographs, the gathering of oral histories of former Dearfield residents and their descendants, and measures being taken to preserve physical remains of the historic site.

Public participation and discussion on the historical importance and preservation of Dearfield as a valuable Colorado heritage resource will be welcomed.

UNC also will host a free preview showing of "Dearfield: Remnants of a Dream," a documentary by film producer Charles Nuckolls, at 7 p.m. in Michener Library, intersection of 14th Avenue and 20th Street. Free parking in UNC's B and C lots will be available.

The conference and film are among a variety of activities at UNC in February celebrating Black History Month.

Founded in 1910 to establish economic self-sufficiency and social justice for African-Americans, by the early 1920s Dearfield was home to nearly 70 families who produced barley, strawberries, potatoes and more.

Like many other communities, Dearfield was unable to survive economically during the drought of the late1920s and resulting Dust Bowl in the early 1930s, and eventually became a ghost town and point of curiosity for travelers along U.S. Highway 34.

The Dearfield Dream Project is a collaborative research program of the Dearfield Heritage Preservation Committee under the Black American West Museum in Denver. UNC, Colorado State University and Texas A&M University are partners in the project, along with the city of Greeley, Weld County, the Greeley Tourism Office, Colorado Preservation Inc. and community volunteers.