Born into slavery in 1822, Barney Ford's life is an inspiring testament to optimism, perseverance, and courage. At 26, he escaped slavery by travelling north on the Underground Railroad. He and his wife Julia operated a hotel and restaurant in Nicaragua until threat of war forced a return to the United States. He filed a gold claim in Breckenridge, Colorado, only to have it denied because he was African American. He started a successful barbershop in Denver until it was destroyed by fire. He built and owned hotels and restaurants in Denver and Cheyenne before going bankrupt. Barney and Julia started over with a popular restaurant in Breckenridge before it too burned. All through the booms and busts of his personal fortunes, Barney worked for equal rights for African Americans. He was active in insuring that statehood broughtall rights as free citizens of the United States. He helped start adult education programs for freed people in Colorado. Ford was also the first African American to serve on a Colorado grand jury¿an inspiring and praiseworthy appointment. Barney Ford succeeded as a businessman, respected member of society, and a friend to all people. Barney Ford gained and lost several fortunes. He fought for civil rights. Today, he is remembered with a stained glass window portrait directly behind the speaker¿s desk in the Colorado state House of Representatives. The "Great Lives in Colorado History" biography series is for grades 3-5. Each book contains full text in both English and Spanish.