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 home >> Civil Rights History Project >> Survey of Collections and Repositories >> Collections >> Collection Record

The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories

Elvin R. Caldwell Papers

Repository: Denver Public Library. Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library

Collection Description (Extant): The Elvin R. Caldwell papers span the years 1950 to 2002. The papers comprise correspondence, campaign literature, photographs, newspaper clippings, articles and publications that record Caldwell's time as a Colorado State Representative, Denver City Council member and Denver Manager of Safety. It also contains photographs and material from the many clubs and groups of which Caldwell was an active member. There is a rich series of photographs that illustrate his years spent in the City of Denver's Department of Safety.

[. . . ] During World War II, Caldwell served as the Chief Statistician for the Remington Arms Company and as Assistant Superintendent for productions. Caldwell served three terms in the Colorado House of Representatives. In 1955, he was elected to the Denver City Council and is noted as the first African American to serve on a city council west of the Mississippi River. He served a total of seven terms (28 years). During his tenure, he served as President for five terms. During these terms, Caldwell played a key role in passing bond proposals that provided funding for the downtown Skyline Urban Renewal Project and the Denver General Hospital facility. He helped secured federal funds through the Community Development Agency for housing and economic development. He fought for an end to discrimination against minorities at the Colorado State Home for Dependent Children, Clayton College, Park Hill Golf Course, the Denver Fire Department and the Denver Police Department. He helped establish the Eastside Neighborhood Health Center and Five Points Community Center. In 1980, Caldwell vacated his City Council seat to accept a mayoral appointment to the position of Manager of Safety.

Over the years, Caldwell served on the boards of numerous organizations including the Glenarm Branch of the YMCA, Boy Scouts of America and PALS of Denver. He served on the board of directors for: the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Opportunities Industrialization Center, The Denver Improvement Association, Mayor's Commission on Community Relations, Colorado Municipal League, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Five Points Businessmen's Association, Urban League and the Senior Support Services. Caldwell was one of the founders of the Equity Savings and Loan Association, the International Opportunity Life Insurance Company and the Black Municipal League. Caldwell was a member of the Shorter Community A.M.E. Church.

[. . . ] SERIES 5 AUDIO-VISUAL 1984, 2001-2002 AVBOX 6 : The audio-visual series contains an oral history interview recorded in 1984 and video cassettes of the Denver City Council meetings. Sound recordings of sermons by Reverend J. Langston Boyd of Shorter Community African Methodist Episcopal Church comprise a portion of the series.

Origin Info: Gift of Elvin R. Caldwell, 2001.

Date(s): 1930-2002

Digital Status: No

Extent: 5 boxes; 1 audiovisual box; 1 oversize box; 4 oversize folios; 1 object. (Contains correspondence, photographs, video tapes, audiotape, newspaper clippings, articles, posters, publications.)

Finding Aid URL: External Link

Language: English

Interviewees: Elvin R. Caldwell

Rights (CRHP): Contact the repository which holds the collection for information on rights


African American clergy--Colorado
African American political activists
African American politicians--Colorado
African Americans--Civil rights--Colorado
Civil rights movements--Colorado
Civil rights--Cases
Colorado--Race relations
Discrimination in employment
Discrimination in housing
Discrimination in medical care
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
YMCA of the USA


Sound recordings


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   May 15, 2015
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