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Field Notes - Spring 2022

Dearfield Colorado

May 25, 2022

$498K Grant Funds Rehabilitation Efforts at African American Townsite  

The National Park Service’s African American Civil Rights Grant Program recently awarded the University of Northern Colorado $497,776 to help fund rehabilitation efforts at the African American townsite of Dearfield. For UNC Professor of Africana Studies George Junne, Ph.D., and Professor Emeritus and Research Fellow of Anthropology Robert Brunswig, Ph.D., the grant is a significant win that will help further the preservation efforts they have spearheaded at the townsite for over a decade.   

Located east of Greeley along Highway 34, Dearfield was founded in 1910 as an African American farming community. The settlement, which covered approximately 20 square miles, grew to about 200 to 300 residents before being devastated by the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl in the early 1930s.     

“There have been other Black agricultural communities around the country, but this is one of the only ones that has the original structures still on it,” said Junne, who has been studying Dearfield since the late 1980s. “At the time, it was probably one of the most famous Black agriculture communities in the U.S.” 

The preservation efforts are part of the Dearfield Dream Project, a larger collaborative research and historic sites preservation effort that is an extension of work that members of the Dearfield Committee have been engaged in for the past 13 years. 

Junne and his work at Dearfield were featured in the Fall/Winter 2017 issue of UNC Magazine.

UNC Geography Professor Secures Seventh Fulbright Award, Encourages Students to Apply for Similar Intercultural Opportunities 

Since winning her first Fulbright award in 2007, Karen Barton, a professor in the Geography, GIS and Sustainability department at UNC, has been traveling to different parts of the world, researching topics such as the preservation of wetlands in South America, natural hazards in Asia and religion and diversity in West Africa. Last summer she added another intercultural experience to her long list as she journeyed to Mexico, taking advantage of her impressive seventh award from the highly competitive and prestigious Fulbright Program.  

As part of her most recent Fulbright-Hays fellowship, Barton travelled to Mexico City, exploring the cultural geographic connections between Africa and Mexico and completing a research and teaching project to bring back to her classes.