A woman credited with helping to end segregation in Colorado Springs inspiration for Sunday festival

August 7, 2014 Updated: August 7, 2014 at 11:20 am
photo - Daniel Rodriguez
Daniel Rodriguez 

10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, America the Beautiful Park, 126 Cimino Drive, free; 460-5271, csdiversityforum.org

Something else: Daniel Rodriguez, "The Singing Policeman," performs 2 p.m.

She died in 2005, but businesswoman Fannie Mae Duncan remains a source of inspiration for locals, including those behind Everybody Welcome: A Celebration of Culture and Diversity.

The eighth annual event is Sunday in America the Beautiful Park.

"It always has at its heart celebrating Fannie Mae Duncan," says Sally Davis, director of operations and development for Colorado Springs Diversity Forum, a partner behind the event.

The daylong multicultural event features two stages of about 10 music and dance acts, plus villages where people can explore different cultures or learn about the military or health and wellness. Kids can get a passport punched at each stop to earn prizes.

This year, the USO is partnering with the Diversity Forum and bringing Daniel Rodriguez, known as "The Singing Policeman." He was an officer with the New York City Police Department during the attacks of Sept. 11 and gained immense popularity afterward when he sang "God Bless America" during a widely televised church service at Yankee Stadium.

Duncan owned the Cotton Club in downtown Colorado Springs, a hotbed for famous jazz acts, including Duke Ellington and Muddy Waters, and is credited for helping end segregation.

When locals complained to the police about the club's "inappropriate" activities, Davis says, the chief confronted Duncan.

"She said 'I check their IDs. I don't check what color they are,' " Davis said.


Birds of Chicago - 8 p.m. Saturday, Ancient Mariner, 962 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, $12-$17; 576-5945, amusic

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