Keep Westword Free

Michael Hancock will get hands-off treatment at this weekend's Juneteenth celebration

As a teenager, Michael Hancock told Channel 4 that one day he wanted to be Denver's first black mayor. Wellington Webb beat him to that title, but still, Hancock made history with one of the strangest-ever starts to a mayoral term. He was elected to the office by a huge margin that showed he was the clear choice of voters, regardless of their race -- and regardless of the Denver Players prostitution rumors that put his honeymoon on hold.

"Hands off Hancock!," says Brother Jeff , who has a cultural center on Welton Street, the historic heart of Denver's black community. "Mayor-elect Michael Hancock, his family and supporters did not have an opportunity to celebrate his/our tremendous victory before Hancock's character and values came under attack."

But they will this weekend. After some rocky times, including an outright cancellation in 2007, Juneteenth -- the holiday that marks the day when slaves in Texas finally learned that they'd been freed by the Emancipation Proclamation -- has again taken hold in Five Points. This year's Juneteenth event, which has grown into a celebration of freedoms everywhere and is presented by the Friends of Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library, starts at 10 a.m. tomorrow with a march that leaves Manual High School and heads into the heart of Five Points. The party continues until 6 p.m., with entertainers filling a stage at 1700 East 28th Avenue.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

But first, Brother Jeff has also reestablished the Juneteenth Senior Luncheon, which will be held today. "Our seniors deserve to be included in all aspects of community," he says. ""Without these pioneers, we would have no traditions to celebrate."

Those pioneers also gave reason for would-be politicos like a young Michael Hancock to aim high. Without them, we might not have had Denver's second black mayor.

More from our Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "Michael Hancock, Denver's new mayor, had a good campaign -- and a lucky office."

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.