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AAHGSCS

African-American Historical and Genealogical

Society of Colorado Springs

Mission Statement

Our mission is to ensure that African-Americans are included as an integral part of the history of the Pikes Peak Region and our nation. Our goals are to instill a sense of pride in the youth and to expose the broader community to the culture and contributions of black people. Our objectives are to promote interest in African-American genealogy and to encourage the study of Black History, accumulate and preserve African-American genealogical materials, assist members with their research and to acquire and share African-American historical and genealogical information.

Our History

In September 1981, the Negro Historical Association of Colorado Springs (NHACS) was founded. Its first anniversary celebration was held in February 1982. The co-founders were Charlotte Banks Collins, John McDonald, Erna May Marshall McDonald, Lonnie Seymour Sr., Vivian Seymour, Lucius Washington, Genolda Vaughan Jones, Leonard Pollard and Lu Lu Stroud Pollard, Samuel Hunter, Jr., Minnie Ray Lane Hunter, Shirlee McFarland Darden, Andrew Darden, Eula Banks Andrews.

In 1997, Candice McKnight was invited to a family reunion and it sparked her interest in genealogy. Her first mentor was Will DeBoer, Sexton of Evergreen Cemetery. He directed her to the right places and people to see. On November 20, 1999, Candice met with five of the most knowledgeable genealogists, librarians, and historians in Colorado. They were: Katie Brown Bennett, genealogist and author of five family history books, Mary Davis, librarian historian and genealogist, Bonnie Yorganson, certified genealogist and director of the Latter Day Saints Library at The Family History Center, Betty Johnson, certified genealogist and John Palmer, author and genealogist.

These experts gave Candice a list of beginning genealogy classes specifically geared toward African-American genealogy to help get her started.

Candice sought out instructors to teach these classes from the Pikes Peak Genealogical Society, the Penrose Public Library, the Family History Center and volunteers from the community and all over the state. In 2000, Candice founded The African-American Genealogical Society of Colorado Springs (AAGSCS). In 2003, when Lu Lu Stroud Pollard became ill she asked Candice to take over NHACS. Something stirred within Candice’s heart and in spite of some objections, she promised Lu Lu that she could not let history die.

In light of the fact that the NHACS and the AAGSCS had many similarities, including many of the same members, it was decided that it would be best to bring both groups together. In 2005, NHACS and AAGSCS created a new board and re-named the new organization the African-American Historical and Genealogical Society of Colorado Springs (AAHGSCS), incorporating the names of both groups.  AAHGSCS has set up historical and genealogical booths for various events networking with countless organizations. In addition to this, members have given presentations, workshops, receptions and have sent newsletters all over the U.S.

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