John W. & Edna Wilson Mosley

John W. & Edna Wilson Mosley

When John Mosley enrolled at Colorado State University in 1939, he managed to cover his first year of tuition with an academic scholarship. But as an African American, he faced many obstacles – he was barred from living in college residence halls, encountered racism and bigotry on campus and was denied service at local restaurants. Despite those limitations, he made the CSU football team as a walk-on candidate, the first black student to ever play there or in the Big Seven. After graduation he battled discrimination in the military, too, although he would eventually become one of the earliest black pilots in World War II as a Tuskegee Airman.

Upon graduation from Manual High School, Edna Mosley attended the University of Northern Colorado. During World War II, she worked in the defense industry. Edna then returned to college and was a graduate in the first Baccalaureate program at Metropolitan State College in Denver. Edna was the first African American to be elected to the Aurora City Council, where she served for 12 years. Edna passed away on August 26, 2014.

Impact

In 2002, in recognition of their many years of service to our community, John and Edna’s friends organized a thank you party and wanted to send them on a trip abroad. The Mosleys agreed to accept the money only if the funds could be used towards the creation of a scholarship fund. To date, the fund has given $28,000 in scholarships to assist African American students from the urban metro-Denver area.