Bronze and mosaic relief designed by Thomas Jay Warren.

John W. Mosley Papers

African American Research Library
Denver Public Library

Provenance: The collection was donated to the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library by John Mosley on December 11, 2001.

The collection is open for research.


Literary rights and copyrights have been assigned to the Denver Public Library.

Publication Rights:

All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from material in the collection should be discussed with the appropriate librarian or archivist. Permission for publication may be given on behalf of the Denver Public Library as the owner of the physical item. It is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained by the customer. The Library does not assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or publication rights of the manuscript held by the writer, heirs, donors, or executors. Reproduction restrictions are decided on a case-by-case basis.

Preferred Citation:

[Identification of item], John W. Mosley Papers, ARL6, Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library Collection, The Denver Public Library


2 boxes (2 linear feet), 1 oversize folder



Processed By:

Belen Aranda and Merrie Jo Schroeder

Project Manager: Ellen Zazzarino
Date: January 2005

Biographical Note | Scope and Content | Series | Container Listing

Biographical Note

John William Mosley, Jr. was born in Denver, Colorado on June 21, 1921. His father came to Colorado attracted by the Cripple Creek silver rush but settled his family in Denver. Mosley attended Whittier Elementary School, Cole Junior High School and Manual Training High School in Denver, Colorado. At Manual he was an honor student, class valedictorian, Merit Scholarship winner and lettered in wrestling and football. He obtained his undergraduate education at Colorado State College in Fort Collins, Colorado where he was the first African American to play football in the Big Seven Conference and to win a regional wrestling championship.

After graduation, Mosley was drafted into the U.S. Army Field Artillery unit despite the fact that he held a private pilot’s license and wished to be an Air Force pilot. Eventually he was transferred and enrolled in flight training at Tuskegee Army Air Force Base, an isolated U.S. Army Air Corps training complex for African Americans. Mosley achieved the rating of a Command Pilot. Under the command of Col. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., the Tuskegee Airmen fought in the aerial war over North Africa, Sicily and Europe. Mosley elected to return to civilian life in 1946, maintaining his commission as a 1 st Lieutenant in the Air Reserve.

Mosley received a Masters in Social Work from the University of Denver in 1948. He was employed as Boys’ Work Director for YMCAs in Denver, Colorado and Kansas City, Missouri until 1950, when he was recalled to active duty. Mosley served in a variety of staff and combat operational positions in Europe, Southeast Asia and the United States and obtained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

Upon retirement from the Air Force in 1967, Mosley continued to serve his country with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services where he worked in a variety of positions including Equal Opportunity Specialist, Staff Director of the Mountain Plains Federal Regional Council and Special Assistant to James Farmer, Assistant Secretary of Administration.

Since retiring from the Federal Government, Mosley has remained active in professional and community organizations including the Cherry Creek Schools Foundation; Mile High United Way; Denver Sister Cities, International; Y.M.C.A.; and Goodwill Industries.

Mosley married his high school friend, Edna Wilson, in 1945. They have four children: Edna Lorette, John Gregory, Brian Wilson, and William Eric.

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Scope and Content

The collection contains papers that span the years 1927-2004. It includes report cards, diplomas, school yearbooks, correspondence, newspaper clippings, certificates, publications, reports, articles, scrapbooks and photographs. The material documents Mosley’s high school and college days and his career with the Tuskegee Airmen.

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Series Description


The series comprises resumes, report cards from junior high, Mosley’s high school commencement address and diploma, Colorado State College graduation announcement, Colorado State University alumni programs and awards and newspaper clippings. The series also includes a few items concerning Mosley’s wife, Edna, and the death of his father, John W. Mosley, Sr.


This series includes yearbooks, publications, reports and articles about the Tuskegee Airmen. Also included are programs from the Tuskegee Airmen national conventions. Also included is a travel bag commemorating Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. and The Organization of Black Airline Pilots, Inc.


This series consists of two scrapbooks pertaining to Mosley’s childhood, education and military career. The scrapbooks contain chiefly newspaper clippings.


Photographs of Mosley’s wife and family are included in this series. Also included are photographs of Tuskegee Airmen.


This series consists of an American Woodmen insurance beneficiary certificate and a poster marking the 15 th anniversary of the Women’s Bank. Mosley’s wife, Edna, was a member of the 1993 Board of Directors and is pictured on the poster.

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Container Listing

Series I: Personal Papers

Box 1: Papers

Box 1 FF1 n.d. Biographical data, resumes
Box 1 FF2 1933, 1934, 1935 Boys Scouts of America: membership cards, pins
Box 1 FF3 1934-1936 Cole Junior High School: report cards
Box 1 FF4 1936 Cole Junior High School: ribbons, bell schedule, newspaper clippings, graduation program
Box 1 FF5 1936-1938 Manual Training High School: report cards
Box 1 FF6 August 14, 1937 Dancing party given by Mosley: invitation
Box 1 FF7 1938 Manual Training High School: Thunderbolt yearbook
Box 1 FF8 1939 Manual Training High School: National Honor Society induction ceremony program, graduation announcement, program, diploma
Box 1 FF9 April 8, 1939 Commencement address: drafts, final
Box 1 FF10 1938 Manual Training High School football: newspaper clippings
Box 1 FF11 1939 Manual Training High School football: newspaper clippings
Box 1 FF12 1939, 1940 Mosley, John W.: correspondence sent, received
Box 1 FF13 1942, 1943 Colorado State College: correspondence sent, received
Box 1 FF14 1939, 1940, 1942, n.d. Colorado State College: football program, college booklet, programs, football ticket, Senior class dinner ticket
Box 1 FF15 1943 Colorado State College: graduation announcement
Box 1 FF16 April 14, 1996 Colorado State University - alumni association awards dinner: program, correspondence
Box 1 FF17 April 25, 1996 Colorado State University - honors luncheon: program
Box 1 FF18 October 9, 1998 Colorado State University - Hall of Fame banquet: program
Box 1 FF19 April 5, 1946 Insurance certificate
Box 1 FF20 June 28- July 2, 2000 U.S. African Conference, Sister Cities: proposal, memorandum
Box 1 FF21 1945, 1950, 1987, 1991, 1996, 1998, 2002, 2004, n.d. Newspaper clippings
Box 1 FF22 1942 Mosley, John W. Sr., death: telegram, list of flowers
Box 1 FF23 n.d. Mosley, Edna W. (wife): biographical data
Box 1 FF24 May 19, 1974 Mosley, Edna W. (wife): Scott United Methodist Church certificate of recognition
Box 1 FF25 September 20, 1975 Mosley, Edna W. (wife): United Negro College Fund, Colorado Campaign: program

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Series 2: Tuskegee Airmen

Box 1: Papers

Box 1 FF26 1945 Godman Field, Ft. Knox, Kentucky: yearbook
Box 1 FF27 1982 The Tuskegee Experience, published by Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.
Box 1 FF28 August 4-8, 1991 Tuskegee Airmen Annual National Convention, Denver, Colorado: program
Box 1 FF29 August 7-13, 2000 Tuskegee Airmen Annual National Convention, San Antonio, Texas: correspondence, program, articles
Box 1 FF30 November 1997 Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.: newsletter
Box 1 FF31 February 11-17, 1991 “Benjamin O. Davis: Breaking the Silence”, Washington Post National Weekly Edition
Box 1 FF32 1997 Tuskegee Air Force Flying School: newspaper clipping, “The Road that Led to the Sky”
Box 1 FF33 January 11, 2000 “Flying into Black History”, Aurora Sentinel
Box 1 FF34 n.d. So That Others May Know (newsletter)
Box 1 FF35 n.d. Tuskegee Airmen: Fact Sheet, Department of Defense
Box 1 FF36 December 15, 2000 Biffle, Richard L., Jr., Lt. Col. USAF (retired), Tuskegee Airman: tribute, memorial booklet
Box 1 FF37 November 2000 Tuskegee Airmen monument dedication, Columbus, Ohio: articles
Box 1 FF38 2001 Tuskegee Airmen exhibit, Aurora Museum: photographs, ticket
Box 1 FF39 n.d. Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.: certificate of membership
Box 1 FF40 n.d. Vietnam Report: Fact-Finding Tour of Senator Peter Dominick: interview with John W. Mosley
Item 1   n.d. Commemoration of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. and The Organization of Black Airline Pilots, Inc.: travel bag

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Series 3: Scrapbooks

Box 2: Scrapbooks

Item 1 1933-1942 Scrapbook: newspaper clippings, correspondence, report cards, membership cards, photographs
Item 2 1936-1955 Scrapbook: newspaper clippings, correspondence, church and school programs, greeting cards, diplomas, photographs

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Series 4: Photographs

Box 3: Photographs

Box 3 FF1 1915, 1927-1929, 1943, 1997, n.d. Mosley, John W., Edna Mosley, family: black and white photographs, color photographs, copies
Box 3 FF2 n.d. Tuskegee Airmen: black and white photographs, copies

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Series 5: Oversize

OVFolder 1: Oversize

OVF 1 FF1 1993 Women’s Bank, 15 th Anniversary, 1978-1993: poster
OVF 1 FF2 April 3, 1934 Supreme Camp of the American Woodmen: beneficiary certificate

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