DENVER (CBS4)– The list of potential new names for Denver’s Stapleton neighborhood has more than 150 suggestions. The grandson of civil rights activists is leading the campaign to rename the neighborhood after his grandparents, John and Edna Mosley.
“We’re pushing for Mosley Park or Mosley Field. The signs say, ‘Mosley: A name that we can stand by,’” said J.C. Futrell, their grandson.
It’s the same slogan Edna used during the ‘90s campaign that eventually made her Aurora’s first Black city council member.
However, the Mosley couple was paving the way for African-Americans in Colorado long before.
John, a Tuskegee airman, broke barriers at CSU when becoming as the university’s first black football player. Edna founded The Women’s Bank, now Colorado Business Bank, helping many receive business loans and achieve financial freedom.
The Mosleys were also the first family of color to purchase a home in Aurora.
“Fair housing and equal housing was always something that was very important to them. They wanted to break the color barrier that existed in a city they loved,” said Futrell. “It wasn’t easy for them, but eventually that community became their own and the community of others that looked like them as well.”
Their competition in renaming Stapleton includes names honoring black trailblazers, like Marie Greenwood. The Mosleys knew some of those names personally.
“People like Dr. Justina Ford, who actually delivered my grandfather in 1921! All of these amazing people have connections to one another and we want to celebrate these things,” said Futrell.
Before his death, John told his grandson he remembers watching the KKK burn down the AME church he attended in Denver. Mosely was a child and Ben Stapleton was the mayor.
Futrell says naming a place after local African-American heroes is a small step towards reconciliation and understanding.
Even if Stapleton doesn’t become Mosley Park, he’s proud the neighborhood is still getting to know the Mosleys.
You can learn more about the Mosleys contributions to the area on mosleynow.com.
Earlier this month Stapleton’s Master Community Association voted to change the name. The HOA has compiled a list of more than 150 possible suggestions.
A new advisory board, which includes a representative from Black Lives Matter, will narrow the list to 16. The community will then vote next month and the new name is expected to be announced Aug. 1.