Western History & Genealogy Blog

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Clarence Holmes and the Cosmopolitan Club

Early Civil Rights march in Denver
Cosmopolitan Club meeting with George Morrison, orchestra leader

In 2009 the library processed the Clarence and Fairfax Holmes Papers (WH1270), which documents the lives of a politically and socially active couple in Denver’s African-American community.

Thanks to a Colorado’s Diverse Heritage grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), DPL archivists were able to process five archival collections of African-Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans last year.

Dr. Clarence Holmes (1892-1978) graduated from Howard University in 1917 and Howard University College of Dentistry in 1920 before returning to his hometown of Denver to open a private practice in dentistry in the Five Points neighborhood of Denver.

Holmes helped found one of Denver’s first organizations dedicated to promoting interracial and interfaith understanding - the Cosmopolitan Club of Denver. The co-ed club’s motto was “humanity above nation, race or creed,” and it attracted an activist membership from Denver’s African-American, Jewish, Japanese and Anglo communities. The Club organized in 1931 when racial, ethnic and religious discrimination was institutionalized in Denver and throughout the U.S.

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