In June of 2024, Governor Jared Polis signed SB24-053 “Racial Equity for Black Coloradans” into law. The groundbreaking legislation compels History Colorado to research historical racist practices, systems and policies of the state that generationally harmed the lives of Black Coloradans. The Colorado Black History Research Historian position – one of a team of four researchers – performs a pivotal role in the implementation of this legislation through historical examination and ongoing effects of the following (but not limited to) subject areas: access to asset and wealth building, including residential and commercial loans, capital investments, and grants for businesses; tax policy; k-12 education; postsecondary education, including higher education and workforce training programs; home ownership and access to housing as an owner or tenant; health disparities and access to health care; policing and police brutality; incarceration for crimes; and overall treatment of Black Coloradans in the criminal justice system. 

The Colorado Black History Research Historian position will be part of a team of four similar positions and must work in collaboration with this team, History Colorado leadership, and the legislatively created Colorado Black Equity Commission.  Findings will be rooted in a wide range of evidence, including published primary sources and archival materials, oral histories, and required community engagement sessions held throughout the research period. The research is allotted two-and-half years to complete and then will be used by the Commission as the basis for economic analysis to quantify the cost of these generationally harmful systems on Black Coloradans. The final product will be a substantial historical report to be produced by History Colorado in late 2026. 

Senate Bill 24-053 is an ambitious endeavor to build historically-informed, State-facilitated reconciliation and repair. These two-and-half-year term-limited positions will be central to accomplishing this significant goal.

The Colorado Black History Research Historians are accountable for: 

  • Historical Research & Writing 70%
  • Community Engagement & Collaboration 15%
  • Report Preparation 15%

The Colorado Black History Research Historian is accountable for: 

  • Identifying specific topics and themes to explore, in collaboration with the team and History Colorado staff. 
  • Historical research using published primary sources, archives, oral histories, and contemporary community input. 
  • Travel when required for research. 
  • Providing regular progress updates to project manager and appropriate History Colorado staff.
  • Sharing findings in writing in the format of the study.
  • Sharing findings in other forums and formats as appropriate.
  • Attending community engagement meetings in various locations around the state over the duration of the project. 
  • Collaborating with meeting facilitators to prepare them for the conversation by sharing relevant questions and/or findings to date.
  • Presenting research or leading discussions at community engagement meetings when appropriate.
  • Following up with community members who may be able to more deeply inform the research.
  • Writing specific portions of a substantial report on Black history and racial equity in Colorado.
  • Collaborating with colleagues to ensure that each section of the report is part of a cohesive whole. 
  • Meeting deadlines for specific parts of the report. 
  • Revising according to feedback received from colleagues, History Colorado staff, and outside reviewers.
  • Presenting the report to the legislative steering committee, other interested stakeholders, and the general public in ways appropriate for the situation.
  • Minimum Qualifications, Substitutions, Conditions of Employment & Appeal Rights
  • This position requires:
  • Educational background or work experience in history, specifically Black history in America and/or the American West, Black or Africana Studies
  • Strong historical research skills, including methods utilizing published primary sources, archives, oral histories, and interviewing. 
  • Demonstrated experience in relationship building and authentic community engagement with historically marginalized and excluded communities.
  • Exceptional writing and editing skills. 
  • Cultural competence.
  • Ability to write a compelling and accessible text that informs wide audiences. 

PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS:

  • A Master’s degree in history, with focus on Black history or Black Studies is a plus. 
  • Experience applying an equity and inclusion lens to grant processes.
  • Knowledge of the archival landscape that can support this research.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively with a broad audience through writing. 
  • To effectively implement this work, successful Colorado Black History Research Historian should possess cultural competence skills, including:
  • Cross-cultural communication, cultural sensitivity, and community engagement.
  • A research lens that emphasizes building relationships, ethical considerations, and empowering communities.
  • Recognition of the historical context, and intersectionality of cultural identities, and value of local knowledge.
  • A successful Colorado Black History Research Historian will possess the following temperament and character traits:
  • High energy, intensely curious, open-minded, and tenacious.
  • Detail-oriented, highly organized, and self-motivated.
  • Team-oriented, collaborative, and receptive to ideas. 
  • Commitment to working with focus and intentionality on the goals of this legislation.
  • Inspired by the mission of History Colorado and its service to the people and communities of Colorado.

Application deadline: July 22, 2024

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Date posted: June 30, 2024