Paul • A Denver Living Legend

After learning about the man pictured, I find it impossible to sum up his greatness in a mere three-paragraph introduction. How can you when someone has been in the presence of Dr. King, lived with Seretse Khama, the first President of Botswana, and served as the principal at Hallett Elementary School in the 90s. He has lived a life and has many stories to tell.

Dr. Paul Hamilton, born and raised in Colorado, is a long-time educator, former Colorado State Representative, and in his unassuming home in the Whittier neighborhood lives an extensive collection of African art. Every wall and room covered in masks, statues, board games, puppets, and weapons from Yoruba to Hemba.

During our conversation, we spoke extensively about his life, Denver’s Black community, and his grandsons. He shared his experience growing up nerdy and poor in a then-segregated Pueblo and moving here in September 1959 to attend the University of Denver, where he gained new perspectives about life and ultimately chose to plant his roots. We also discussed the world of African art collectors and Picasso’s obsession with the art form.

When I asked Paul to describe Denver in one word, he replied, “possibilities”. Keep reading to learn what it means to be him in Denver.

Who are you?

I am a very private person. I am calm, cool, collected. I am shy, but that’s not what most people have always seen. I am a skeptic. I am a meditator.

What does it mean to be you?

It means to be alone a lot but not lonely. It means to be happy and to find happiness on the inside. What’s going on outside doesn’t affect my happiness. It also means to not allow the craziness of other people to determine how I react.

What does it mean to you to be Black in Denver?

It means to make a difference. We’re the minority of the minority, so it means to shine. Denver is a powerful place for Black people.

What do you love most about living in Denver?

My home and family. I love traveling and I want to travel more, but I also like to come home and hide out. In my alone time, my mind is very active.