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New Exhibit Focuses on History of African Americans in Boulder County

A new exhibit at Carnegie Library for Local History showcases the lives of African Americans throughout Boulder County’s history. 

The exhibit, on display through March 12, features more than 17 photos and newspaper clippings from as early as 1880. It gives viewers a look into their daily lives and how they influenced Boulder’s history.  

The materials at the exhibit were curated over the span of 50 years by Charles and Mildred Nilon. Charles was a professor emeritus of English at the University of Colorado Boulder and the director of the Black Studies Program. He was the first African American professor at CU, and his wife, Mildred, became the university’s first African American librarian. The two dedicated their lives to advancing African American interests in Boulder and were known for their efforts to foster a sense of community for black students at CU Boulder.  

Carnegie Library for Local History is located at 1125 Pine Street. It is open Monday to Friday, 1 to 5 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and closed on Sundays. 


Exhibit sneak peek  

Irving  Lingham  was a star athlete at Boulder Prep School, participating in basketball, football, and track & field during the mid-1920s.   Lingham  later graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder with a degree in music.  He married Mary Parks of  Witchita , Kansas in 1938. 

The couple had four children: Reginald, Janice, Eileen, and Kendall.  Irving ran  Lingham's  Upholstery at 1831 Pearl Street (which opened in 1957) ,  while Mary worked as a house manager and cook.  Both  Linghams  were active members of the Second Baptist Church of Boulder.     

Left: Mary Lingham (1917-1997); Right: Irving Lingham (1908-1978). Photo dated 1936.