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Home of Colorado's 1st female African American doctor wins grant for renovations

Dr. Justina Ford was forced to open her practice in her own home because she not allowed to practice medicine in hospitals because of skin color.

DENVER — It was saved from demolition in the 1980s, and now the home of Dr. Justina Ford will be preserved for future generations after it secured a grant through the 2019 Partners in Preservation Campaign.

It featured 20 sites across the U.S. to raise awareness for the often unrecognized contributions of women to American history and society. Ford's home located in the Five Points neighborhood was among them.

Thirteen of the sites featured will split a total of $1.8 million in grants to fund their preservation projects, in addition to an initial grant of $10,000 each to increase public awareness of these historic places. They were chosen by votes from the public.

RELATED: Black History Month: Dr. Justina Ford was Denver's first female African-American physician

Ford was the first African-American female physician in Colorado, but because of the color of her skin, she was forced to open her practice in her own house.

Credit: Denver Public Library Western History Collection

“She was granted her medical license in 1902 but denied membership to the Colorado Medical Society,” said Black American West Museum and Heritage Center volunteer Terri Gentry.  

Ford’s house is now the residence of the Black American West Museum and Heritage Center.

“The museum is this little beautiful gem in the northeast Denver community,” Gentry said. “All of these histories, all of these perspectives that we had going on, and all of these thousands of stories that people can tell us about living here in the 5 Points.”

RELATED: Colorado’s first black female doctor's home in the running for a $2M grant

Created in 2006, Partners in Preservation is a community-based partnership to engage the public in preserving historic places. Over the past 13 years, the program has provided more than $28 million in support of 260 historic sites across the U.S., including 20 national parks, 14 cities and 12 main street communities.

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