Fannie Mae Duncan statue to stand outside Pikes Peak Center


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On Wednesday, June 20, sculptor Lori Kiplinger Pandy signed a contract to create a life-sized sculpture of Fannie Mae Duncan to stand outside the Pikes Peak Center, a long-awaited development in the effort to recognize one of the Pikes Peak region's most famous black women.

Fannie Mae Duncan, the proprietor of The Cotton Club (which was demolished in 1975), passed away in 2005, marking the end of an era. Duncan was famous for the phrase, “everybody welcome,” a philosophy that made the Cotton Club an influential gathering space for music lovers of all races, but especially the local African-American community.

Kathleen Esmiol, who helped Duncan write her memoir, has long advocated for a statue of Duncan to appear in front of the Pikes Peak Center, which is near the former location of the Cotton Club. According to a recent press release from the Fannie Mae Duncan Statue Steering Committee, $56,000 has been raised toward this $100,000 project.

Last October, when we reported on Esmiol’s efforts and her friendship with Duncan, Esmiol said she’d empty her own bank account to get this statue built, if she had to.

With the contract now signed by Lori Kiplinger Pandy and the project set in stone, fundraising efforts continue to pick up steam.

Those who wish to donate to the project, which still requires some funding, may mail donations to The Pioneers Musem, 215 S. Tejon St., Colorado Springs, CO, 80903, with “Fannie Mae Duncan statue” in the memo line.

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