Experience the life and times of the legendary Fannie Mae Duncan and the Cotton Club; a business icon well ahead of its time.
What is the likelihood that the middle child of seven youngsters born to African American tenant farmers in rural Oklahoma in 1918 would become a figure in American history? Faced with the seemingly insurmountable challenges of her father’s death, the ravages of the Dust Bowl, and her family’s move to Colorado Springs in 1933, Fannie Mae (Bragg) Duncan defied the odds.
Thanks to the foresight of the city’s founder, General William Jackson Palmer, Fannie Mae received an excellent education in Colorado Springs’ integrated schools, and as an adult she emerged as an entrepreneur, successful businesswoman, and community activist.
She became a catalyst for change during the volatile Civil Rights era, and the city was peacefully integrated at Fannie Mae’s Cotton Club as everyone clamored to see the great black entertainers of the day. Don’t miss the chance to enjoy historic photographs and hear the remarkable story of Fannie Mae Duncan, whose exploits are now chronicled in the African American National Biography and in her book, “Everybody Welcome: A Memoir of Fannie Mae Duncan and the Cotton Club.”
Presenter Kathleen F. Esmiol received her undergraduate degree from Florida State University and her M.A. from UCCS. During the 25 years she taught English in Academy District 20 in Colorado Springs, she wrote and produced six plays and an opera. Her 1993 play about Fannie Mae Duncan led to her assisting Fannie Mae in writing her memoir, “Everybody Welcome.” She also did the documentation for Fannie Mae’s 2012 posthumous induction into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame.
Kathleen delights in making history come alive for an audience – whether in a theater or on the pages of a book. Her book will be available for purchase and autograph.
Membership in the Pikes Peak Posse of the Westerners is open to individuals with an interest in Western history. Guests are welcome!
Presentation format is in a casual, buffet style dinner setting at a cost of $17, payable in advance.
RSVP and pay via credit card online by the Friday prior at noon.
Phone: (719) 473-0330