HOW DOES DENVER RATE?
Denver Looks at Itself
Denver is a rapidly expanding city. Since 1950, it is estimated, it has increased
by 75,000 persons in the city, over 100,000 in the metropolitan area, making a total
in the city of 490,000 and 703,600 in the area.
How healthy has this growth been in terms of human relations? An inventory
made by the citizens of this community appeared to be the avenue for providing
Denvers residents are a composite of descendents of pioneers and later im-
migrants, who for the most part have become completely integrated. Those who,
because they look different, may not receive equality of opportunity are the Negroes,
whose number is estimated at 20,000; the Spanish-American group, estimated at
40,000 to 60,000; and the Japanese-Americans of approximately 2,000. In addition
to these three groups which were chosen for study, the Jewish community of 20,000
was included to determine the extent of this religious prejudice.
The self-inventory of human relations in Denver was undertaken by the Denver
Commission on Human Relations in cooperation with the following agencies: the
Anti-Defamation League of Bnai Brith, Urban League, Japanese-American Citizens
League, Adult Education Council, Anti-Discrimination Division of the State Industrial
Commission, Western District of the National Conference of Christians and Jews,
State Employment Service, League of United Latin American Citizens, and the United
Packing House Workers of America, C. I. O.
The objectives of the Inventory were:
To determine how closely the practices
in Denver conform with the accepted
American philosophy of equality of op-
To discover the progress, if any, since
the report of the Mayors Interim Com-
mittee of 1947; to determine by what
means improvements have been made,
and to find the cause of failures;
To involve citizens of Denver in finding
facts, and to assist in interpreting the
facts and in disseminating the findings,
To provide information for the Mayor,
the Commission on Human Relations and
other organizations, which will assist
them in determining the direction of
their future efforts in this field.
On the following pages are the assets and liabilities as revealed by this Inventory
in the areas of employment, housing, education, public accommodation, and factors
Complete reports of the Inventory may be purchased from
THE COMMISSION ON HUMAN RELATIONS
Room 122, City-County Building,
Opportunities for minorities are better now than in 1947 in federal
state, and Denver civil and career service employment and advancement.
The number of Spanish-Americans working for the City is greater
than their ratio to the total population.
Discriminatory help wanted newspaper advertising has been
almost completely eliminated.
The Denver Commission on Human Relations is available to con-
ciliate complaints against unfair hiring practices in Denver city
The State Anti-Discrimination Act, recently revised, prohibits
discrimination in employment by public employers, private employers,
employment agencies, and labor organizations. Basic enforcement is
through conference, conciliation and education; enforcement powers are
provided for violation by public employers and by those working on
Membership of minority people in labor unions has increased.
Private industry lags far behind public employers in the hiring and
upgrading of qualified minority group workers.
Negroes and Spanish-Americans are largely kept in low-skilled jobs.
Retail selling remains virtually a closed area of employment to
Discrimination against Jews in some areas of employment still
Public employment agencies and practically all private employment
agencies continue to accept discriminatory job orders.
Minority group persons are unable to participate fully in ap-
prenticeship training programs because of discriminatory practices.
Many builders will construct houses for minority group persons
if land and financing are available.
Money is more readily available for use by members of minority
groups to purchase property than was true in 1947.
The percentage of discriminatory ads for houses for sale or rent
in the local papers is low.
Public housing has provided good housing, which would otherwise
not be possible, for many minority group families. Families of both
minority and majority groups live in all projects.
The majority of Negroes, Spanish-Americans and Japanese-Amer-
icans are generally confined to areas with sub-standard, or old, housing.
Religious prejudice also prevails in some areas.
The needs of middle-income minority group families are not met
by public housing.
Some public housing projects, because of location and tenant
selectivity, tend to have a large proportion of one minority group.
Community attitudes have made difficult the integration of a new
group moving into an area.
Due to sellers requests and to pressures from neighbors, realtors,
home owners associations and financial interests, minority group persons
are excluded from many areas in Denver.
Availability of new houses to minority group buyers is, in many
instances, conditioned by location and by the minority group identity
of the prospective buyer. Negroes in particular find purchasing such
Mortgage loans are often refused to minority group persons seeking
to purchase houses in certain localities.
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Since 1947 the schools have undertaken studies and supported
projects to improve the quality of interpersonal and intergroup rela-
tions among pupils, parents, and school personnel.
Curriculum changes have been introduced to develop greater aware-
ness among pupils of the values of differences in our cultures and
respect for them.
The support by the Public Schools and the community of Denver
Boys, Incorporated, is one evidence of the interest of Denver in helping
youth no matter what their race, creed, or ethnic origin.
An increasing number of teachers from minority groups are holding
permanent appointments in the schools.
The joint work of the Public Schools and the Commission on Human
Relations in assisting the Spanish-speaking community to become even
more an integral part of the Denver family is proving effective.
Both private and public vocational schools indicate that neither
race, religion nor ethnic origin are factors conditioning admittance.
Qualified applicants are accepted for admission to every college
in Colorado without regard to race, creed or color.
Museums and libraries are open to everyone, and minority group
persons serve on their committees and staffs.
Public school children and youth of both minority and majority
groups living in disadvantaged areas of the city show achievement below
expectancy in certain academic areas. A high proportion of these dis-
advantaged children never complete the twelfth grade.
Because of residential patterns, some schools have high concentra-
tions of students from the four minority groups studied; others have
Where integration has not been achieved between cultures, students
may be limited in their ability to do school work.
Not all teachers have as yet acquired the sensitivities and skills to
promote the best human relations.
At present, teachers of Negro and Spanish-American identity have
been limited largely to positions in their areas of concentration al-
though some teachers from these groups have been assigned to areas
Discrimination still operates in the selection of members in many
social fraternities and sororities at the Universities of Denver and
The voluntary agencies in the fields of health and welfare serve
every eligible person regardless of race, color or creed. Staff positions
and board membership are open to all.
Hospital facilities are open to everyone. The major nurse training
schools have persons from minority groups on both the faculty and in
the student body. Hospital staff positions, generally, are open to all
From all available reports discrimination in restaurants and eating
places has been virtually eliminated.
Public recreation facilities under the control of the City Recreation
Department and the Denver Public Schools are conducted without dis-
Privately owned recreation facilitiestheatres, bowling alleys, and
roller skating rinks are open to all.
All major hotels will accept any person who has made a prior
reservation or who is attending a convention.
There are inadequate nursing home facilities for Negroes.
Negroes are not accepted as guests in over half of the motels, nor
in 64 per cent of the hotels in the area. Some discrimination still exists
against Spanish-Americans, and Japanese-Americans, and a slight amount
Two swimming pools, one operated by a community supported or-
ganization, are known to discriminate against Negroes.
Discriminatory practices during some tournaments are evident on
Civic and service clubs generally welcome eligible participation within
the spheres of their operations.
Many churches have programs to promote better racial and religious
The findings indicate that Denver is ahead of many other cities in
Civil Rights. There has been notable improvement since the 1947 study
in the protection of Civil Rights of all citizens.
Cases involving police brutality toward minority group persons still
To Increase the Assets in Human Relations
That the City of Denver consider a fair employment practices
ordinance to assure minority persons equal opportunities in private
as well as public employment
That the filing of discriminatory job orders with public and private
employment agencies be prohibited
That under the auspices of the Commission on Human Relations,
conferences be held between concerned groups and realtors, financial
interests, builders and home owners associations, toward elimina-
tion of gentlemens agreements and other discriminatory prac-
tices contrary to law and toward the furthering of good relation-
That the community agencies now working to eliminate discrimi-
nation continue to encourage real estate groups whose present
policies are non-discriminatory
That an objective study be undertaken in Denver as soon as
possible to determine the effect, if any, upon property values in
neighborhoods into which minority group members have moved
That the Board of Education and the administrative staff of the
Denver Public Schools should continue to appoint the most highly
qualified persons as principals, teachers, and personnel in the
central administration regardless of race or ethnic background
That all educational institutions in the Denver area should seek
out and develop the best methods for helping children, youth, and
adults of both minority and majority cultures to understand and
appreciate each others uniqueness, to develop together the best
in all cultures, and to share equally in the benefits of the com-
munity so created
That as an antidote to hate-mongering all schools and colleges
should teach to an even greater degree than at present scientific
information now available about race and minority problems
That more and better efforts be made by the Parent-Teacher Asso-
ciations to interest and include members of minority groups in
projects and programs
That the general public and aggrieved persons be informed of the
responsibility of the district attorney in filing complaints against
discrimination in public accommodation
That the City, through ordinance, make the granting of, and con-
tinuance of, a license to any place of public accommodation de-
pendent on that establishments conforming to civil rights laws
of the City and State
/ That the Human Relations training in the Police Department be
expanded, and a public relations program be created to develop
better understanding between the police and minority groups
^ That further study be made as to the need of a public defender
system and a probation department for Municipal Courts
That, as far as possible, racial identification on public records be
That further study be made of the need of a citizens committee
to investigate and determine complaints involving citizen-police
relationships, including a review of the position of the Commission
on Human Relations in this field
That the Community Chest be urged not to support any agency
which discriminates on the basis of race, creed or ethnic origin
That to enable the various educational, civic, community, business,
labor, human relations and religious agencies and organizations to
cooperate on a continuing and effective basis in the study, plan-
^ ning and implementation of human relations programs with the
Denver Commission on Human Relations, a Denver Council on
Human Relations be established
That the Commission on Human Relations and other community
agencies, including schools, churches, civic organizations, manage-
ment and labor, institute educational programs designed to create
better understanding in the community and to eliminate discrimi-
nation in employment, housing, education, public accommodation
and cultural life
At the invitation of Mayor Quigg Newton approximately 200 citizens
participated in making the Inventory of Human Relations. The Steering
Committee for the study consisted of Dr. Prudence Bostwick, Chairman,
Dr. Elwood Murray, Mrs. Henry Swan II, Mr. Leonard Campbell, Mrs.
Henry Luby, Mr. Michael Freed, Mr. Sebastian Owens, Mr. Minoru Yasui,
Mrs. Evelyn Lewis, Mr. Roy Chapman, Dr. Herbert Walther, Mr. Don
King, Mr. Tony Lovato, Mr. Serafin Gonzales, Mr. William Lancaster, Mr.
Bernard Valdez and Miss Helen L. Burke.
The Section Chairmen were Mr. Edward Miller for Housing; Mr.
Richard Hartman for Public Accommodation; Mrs. Eugene Revelle for
Education; Dr. Earl Corbin for Factors Affecting Democratic Behavior;
and Mr. Harry Schnibbe for Employment.
Secretaries for the Sections were Mrs. Nancy Swank, Mrs. Lois Heath,
Mrs. Fanny Houtz, Mr. Donald Molen, Mrs. Barbara Coopersmith.
Dr. Warren Banner, Director of Research and Community Projects
of the National Urban League, served as consultant.
Among resource persons from various agencies were Mr. Edward
Rothstein, Mr. Lorenzo Traylor, Dr. Paul Merry, Mr. Allyn Trego, Mrs.
Eugene Sternberg, and Mr. Travis Taylor.