Arie Parks Taylor was a public servant and community leader. At 12, she became the guardian for her 10 brothers and sisters, including a newborn baby that came home in an incubator because her mother had died in childbirth. After rearing her brothers and sisters, she pursued an education at Miami University in Ohio, then joined the Women’s Air Force (WAF), where she became the first African American non-commissioned officer in charge of WAF training. She moved to Denver in 1958.
In 1972 Taylor became the first African-American woman elected to the Colorado State House of Representatives, where she addressed a myriad of issues faced by women and the poor during her six terms in office. Successful legislation she sponsored created a sickle cell anemia treatment center, a hemophilia treatment center, the Colorado income tax deduction for the Displaced Homemaker Program, the tax contribution to prevent domestic abuse, and the amendment to the civil rights act that allows women to obtain credit in their own names.
Taylor was the first African American woman to serve as clerk and recorder for the City and County of Denver (or any county in Colorado) and was the first African American woman to become chief clerk of the Denver Election Commission. The Arie P. Taylor Administration Building in Denver’s Montbello district is named in her honor.