History Colorado's 2019 Most Significant Artifact are the shoes belonging to Lucile Berkeley Buchanan Jones cared for by the Museum of Boulder.
These 1926 wedding shoes were worn by Lucile to countless events over her lifetime. The shoes are from the Louvre Boot Company in Kansas City. She would have worn them as part of her dress code to attend all-Black baseball league games. Her story doesn't start or end with these shoes, Lucille's story helps tell the story of many families and children of enslaved parents.
Her family moved from Virginia to Denver in 1882 by wagon, part of the wave of African Americans freed from slavery and looking for a fresh start. Lucile was born and raised in Denver. She attended a few universities before returning to Boulder to study German at the University of Colorado in Boulder. In 1918, she was the first Black woman to graduate. However, the university did not allow her to attend the commencement ceremony and handed her the diploma just moments before without public recognition.
Today we recognize Lucile Berkeley Buchanan Jones! And, more specifically, her endearing soft pink shoes that tell so much of Colorado's history.
In Remembering Lucile, author Polly McLean depicts the rise of the African American middle class through the historical journey of Lucile and her family from slavery in northern Virginia to life in the American West, using their personal story as a lens through which to examine the greater experience of middle-class Blacks in the early twentieth century. The books paints a vivid picture of this strong, extraordinary Black woman who witnessed an extraordinary time in America and rectifies her omission from CU’s institutional history.