January 22, 2021 marks Dr. Justina Ford ‘s 150th birthday and on this day the Black American West Museum (BAWM) celebrates her contribution to the health of the state with a live streamed tribute.
The two hour event showcases not only birthday greetings and interviews from her remaining patients and community members, but also a range of performances such as a reenactment of Dr. Ford’s only known interview and the first ever public display of the handwritten letter to the Colorado Medical Society that documents her delivery of 7,000 babies in her 50 year career.
The broadcast, sponsored by Denver Community Media, takes place at the oldest African American house of worship in the Rocky Mountain West, Zion Baptist Church, where Ford was once the ‘First Lady’.
In addition to the celebration, her date of birth is now officially known as ’Dr Justina Ford Day’, following the issuance of a mayoral proclamation that recognizes her medical care to the Denver community.
Dr. Ford was the first licensed female African American doctor in Colorado however because of her race and gender, she was denied access to practice medicine at local hospitals. Instead, her home in Five Points, once the main district for Denver’s African American and immigrant communities, served as her medical office from 1911-1952.