Fannie Mae Bragg Duncan
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Fannie Mae Bragg Duncan, whose bar, The Cotton Club, helped define entertainment in Colorado Springs, died Tuesday September 13th after a brief illness. She was 87 years old. She was born in Luther, Oklahoma to Herbert and Mattie Mae Bragg on July 5, 1918. She moved with her family to Colorado Springs in 1933, when she was 15 years old. After graduating from Colorado Springs High School, Mrs. Duncan worked at Camp Carson (Fort Carson) in the PX. She married Edward Duncan, and together they founded Duncan's Café and Bar. In the late 1950's, Mrs. Duncan expanded her operations to include The Cotton Club. The Cotton Club was known for attracting world famous musicians to Colorado Springs during the 1950's and 1960's. She hosted such luminary performers as Fats Domino, Duke Ellington, Billie Holliday, Lionel Hampton, Fats Waller, and rhythm and blues guitarist BB King. It was a place where blacks could mingle and socialize freely, without the demeaning segregationist codes imposed at other establishments. After black music became widely accepted, and more people became interested in the talent she booked at The Cotton Club, white members of the Colorado Springs community asked if they were welcome at the nightclub. Mrs. Duncan responded by posting a huge, spotlighted sign in the window of The Cotton Club that read "Everybody Welcome." She always maintained that her only concern was a patron's age, not the color of his or her skin. Not only did such a statement grow her business, it improved race relations in Colorado Springs. Mrs. Duncan reminisced frequently about her establishment and how it had affected the community: "People used to tell me that they loved to come to the Cotton Club because they felt so at home there. It was easy to find, and hard to leave." She will be remembered most for her entrepreneurial, pioneering spirit, at a time when opportunities were limited for women, especially black women. Rather than accept imposed limitations, she made her own opportunities, choosing to think big and outside the box; a practice she encouraged in anyone seeking to improve their lives. Her husband, Edward Duncan; daughter, Yvonne Duncan; mother, Mattie Bragg; father, Herbert Bragg; sister, Selena Bragg Charlton; and brothers: Vernon, John, and Herbert Bragg Jr., preceded her in death. She will be missed by a host of nieces and nephews, friends and other family members. The visitation will be held on Sunday, September 18, 2005 from 2:00-7:00 p.m. at Evergreen Funeral Home and Mrs. Duncan's funeral services will be held on Monday, September 19, 2005 at 10:00 a.m., New Jerusalem Baptist Church, Fountain, Colorado.

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Published in The Gazette on Sep. 18, 2005.
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Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by Claudean Bragg-Brooks, Niece
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47 entries
September 12, 2020
May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived.
She left a lifetime legacy
Carolynn Bragg Bond Erickson
Family
August 20, 2018
As a new arrival in Colo. Springs in the late 40's The Cotton Club and Fannie Mae soon became known names and I followed its fascinating history. Just today I was thrilled to learn that there has been a memoir of her life "Everybody Welcome" and that there is to be a sculpture of her in front of the Pikes Peak Center which being created in Loveland CO. Amidst all of the divisive news today this warms my heart. I plan to donate to the cost of the statue in the name of one of my best friends, another black woman of stature and heart.
Betty Tewell
April 26, 2016
I have been studying Fannie Mae since 3rd grade as a project now i now how important she is.
Amy Duncan
October 7, 2015
I was a young white boy stationed at ft. Carson when I first met mrs. Duncan. I would hang at the cotton club cause I loved the music and the people that would go there. Mrs. Duncan would sometimes come up to me and ask if I had ate if I said no she would take me next door to her diner and feed me. It was a great time in my life I learned a lot there and I loved mrs. Fannie Mae she was a great woman and person.
John mitchell aka Mitch
June 13, 2014
I was there to say goodby on that sad occasion. We, Greg and I, shall never forget you and your kindness in submitting to our many interviews. My relationship goes back to simpler, kinder days. I am blessed to have known you, Fannie Mae.
Juanita Martin
April 8, 2012
Although I have never met Fannie Mae personally, like branches of a tree she thrives within me. I suggested my daughter submit your life and dedication for Colorado Characters 2012 . It was approved. Rest in peace Mrs.Fannie Mae
Janet G
February 20, 2009
The legendary Fannie Mae-I had the pleasure of knowing Fannie Mae through my Mother, Effie G. Herrick from 1967 through 1972. I remember the many times she would stoop over to pinch my cheek and say "How are you, Sweetie?" and really mean how are you! What a very special person with the purest heart of gold and the ability to let God shine through her eyes and actions. God Bless you, Fannie Mae and the Bragg Family. You are missed, cherished, and will never be forgotten. You own a special place in Colorado Springs history!
Mark Herrick
December 21, 2008
Not a day goes by without thinking of you and Aunt Francis. I thank God for allowing me all of the years he did, to share my life with both of you. I thank God for allowing you to share your life with my family and myself. I feel your presence in everything I do. You were my favorite aunt, my second mom, my best friend in the whole world. Someone I could talk to about anything. We shared our secrets and deepest thoughts. We laughed together so hard it made our stomache ache, we cried and held each other in troubled times; and somehow we made it through. I am grateful for the love we share which is planted so deeply in my heart and soul, no need to say goodbye. I know I'll see you later chick.

Thank you to all who have supported and prayed for the Bragg Family.

P.S. I'm keeping my promise to you Aunt Fannie.

Love,
Monica
Monica Bragg-Huff
October 6, 2007
I miss you mom.

Love,
Renee
Renee Bragg
October 19, 2005
Fannie Mae was prsobably my closest freind in Colorado Springs as we;; as my "closest" neighbor. I was the editor of The Coloradp Springs Sun (nee Free Press)and my office was across the street from the Cotton Club. Fannie and I spent many hours together trying to run "our town" and she was someonevery special. She was not only a dear friend but a wonderful person,GREAT lady and a great neighbor. God Bless you, Fannie
Bill Woestendiek
October 5, 2005
Ethel Barnes
September 26, 2005
What a joy knowing and loving you, Fannie Mae. We are privileged to have had the opportunity to videotape you and share your thoughts with our viewers. God bless and comfort your family. Love, Juanita and Greg
Juanita Martin
September 26, 2005
To the family of Fannie Mae: From all of the Taylor family please except our most sincere sympathy and blessings.
Aaron Taylor
September 25, 2005
Aunt Fannie, There are no words that can express the love we all had for you. We each had our own special moments. We all love you, but GOD loves you more, and saw fit to bring his child home. So with that, no goodbyes, instead I'll see you later, and there will be no more tears.
Terri Bragg - Winters
Terri Bragg - Winters
September 25, 2005
What a great legacy for those who loved you. Thank you Fannie Mae.
carolynn bond
September 22, 2005
The Board of Directors of BethHaven, Inc. would like to express sympathy to the family and friends of Fannie Mae Duncan. BethHaven occupies the home that Ms.Duncan owned at 615 N. Corona St. BethHaven has named the facility Duncan-Hart as a tribute to Ms. Duncan. The home currently houses eighteen persons with severe and persistent mental illness in our non profit facility. A portrait of Ms. Duncan sits prominently on the mantel of the home.
Larry Dalton
September 21, 2005
To the family of Fannie Mae:
You have my most sincere sympathy and blessings. I am so sorry to have learned of her death; may she rest in peace. She and her family have been my friends since their arrival in Colorado Springs.
Shirlee McFarland Darden
Shirlee Darden
September 21, 2005
In 1955, Ms. Fannie Mae Duncan saved my life. I shall never forget what she done for me. I was a young teenager, outside her club. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time...She and The Lord saved me! God love her!
Irene Gloria Rollins
September 21, 2005
I am sorry for your loss. My prayers are with the family.
God Bless
Michael Merrick
September 21, 2005
I am honored to have known Fannie Mae. The brief time me and her niece, Trish worked at the Cotton Club was an experience I still talk about. Those were carefree and happy times and I have fond memories of her, Selena, Cornelius and the rest of the family who were like family to me. She was an extraordinary woman!
Carletta Bolden-Dickerson
September 21, 2005
Fannie Mae Duncan is a part of the wonderful memories that my Mother and Dad (Harriet and Ted Beals) shared with our family. Fannie Mae was a good friend to them and a great asset to our community. She contributed to making Colorado Springs a better place for all of us to enjoy and be proud of.
My sincere sympathy goes to her family who will miss her so much.
Louise Spear
September 21, 2005
Aunt Fannie: For my sister, Edith and for me; you were always a representative of elegance and compassionate love. We will never forget the sincere acceptance of us into the family as your nieces and the impact you had on the formation of our personalities. Because of your example, I am confident that I could operate any business and more importantly, I would be a successful entrepreneur in any endeavor. Indeed, you have been an Icon for the Bragg Family as you will be a vital element of Colorado Springs history. And now, may you rest in the arms of our God and be rewarded with His eternal peace and love.
Carolyn Charlton Marks
September 20, 2005
Aunt Fannie, as you were so called by all of your nieces and nephews, I will miss your warm heart and soft laughter. You always had a smile for me and a kind word. Thank you for the memories and love.
Claudean Bragg-Brooks
September 20, 2005
Due to my age I've never had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Duncan or attending the Famous Cotton Club, but I felt compelled to say Thank-You Mrs. Ducan for opening the door of diversity in Colo. Spgs. May God Bless you as you walk through the PEARLY GATES!
Ann Flowers
September 19, 2005
Aunt Fannie was an inspiration and I will always cherish the moments of my mom - Emma Lee and "her girlfriend" "Aunt Fannie". God Speed to the family - you are in my thoughts and prayers.
Warm Regards,
Alfreda Phoenix-Belton
September 19, 2005
Fannie Mae, a cousin and an example that success was obtainable for Women and African-Americans during a period that most would have assumed would be impossible.Cousin,you did not let race nor gender, become barriers to your success, love , or generosity. Not only are we grateful as a family, but the city of Colorado Springs also. Tell Mama-House and all of the family hello in Heaven.
Mark Favors
September 19, 2005
The Prentice Walker Family has many fond memories of growing up down the street from Mrs. Fannie Mae. We remember the many Famous Singers that would visit with her at her home. We give our condolences to the Bragg Family.
Ann (Walker) King
September 19, 2005
The Hardie Lee Favors Family sends our deepest condolences to the
Bragg Family. We will never forget all the kindess Mrs. Fannie Mae bestowed upon our family.
Lillian H. Favors
September 19, 2005
I have very fond memories of Mrs. Fannie Mae, I grew up with her nieces and she was like family to me.
Laura Favors-Wiley
September 19, 2005
My sincere sympathy to the family of Fannie Mae. She was a warm, gracious and wonderful woman. I grew up in Colorado Springs in the era of the Cotton Club and I love the warm memories I have of her. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this time.
Melody Morris Clements
September 19, 2005
I am also an old Free Press/Sun employee. My mother, Ruby and Fannie Mae were friends and they both laid a lifetime foundation for me. I learned a lot about life just hanging around The Cotton Club. Thank God for Fannie Mae and may He watch over her family.
John Ellie Hall
September 19, 2005
Condolences to the family of Fannie Mae Duncan. I was a classmate of Fannie at the Colorado Springs High School and later the County Commissioner in Colorado Springs. I now reside in Bullhead City, AZ.
Rodger Fay
September 19, 2005
We will miss "Aunt Fannie" and cherish the memories of the Cotton Club. There will never be another! Sincere condolences from the Phoenix family.
Angela Phoenix
September 19, 2005
As a young white policeman in 1966 I walked a beat downtown that included Fannie Mae's Cotton Club. I have never met a person who embodied the love of all people as God tells us to do more than Fannie Mae. This is a lady who walked her talk all the time. I am grateful for all that she did for all people, and especially for her helping me to grow into a man that sees peoples hearts...not their skin. My prayers are with the family...my heart is next to Fannie Mae with God in heaven right now.
Don Lloyd
September 19, 2005
I grew up hearing stories of Miss Fannie Mae and the Cotton Club. She blessed Colorado Springs with her presence, and left the region a wonderful historical legacy.
VERONICA REVOAL-FASIG
September 18, 2005
To the Duncan and Bragg family my heartfelt wishes go to all of you. Fannie was person for all to remember. She had done so much for the city and all its citizens. God bless all of you, from your neighbor at 21 W Colorado Ave.
Marvin Koscove
September 18, 2005
THE FAMILY OF FRANCES AND EDWARD BRADFORD SEND THEIR DEEPEST CONDOLANCES. OUR MEMORIES OF MRS. DUNCAN WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN.
MARY, KEITH AND CAROLYN BRADFORD
September 18, 2005
Our sincere sympathy to the Family of Fannie Mae. We shall always remember her sense of humor and great outgoing personality. We loved her stories when we would meet, about the people who entertained at the club.
God Bless you all,
Dawn & Jerry Francois
September 18, 2005
I am sorry for your loss. My prayers are with the family.
Winifred Christian
September 18, 2005
I am saddened to hear of the passing of Fannie Mae. We have known her since our family's arrival in the Springs in the early '60s. My condolences go out to the family.
Dorothy Taylor
September 18, 2005
Fannie Mae I will never forget the opportunity you provided me at just 17 years old with Jimmy Jules and the Diamonds. My life is better having known you. You continue to be a major influence in my life.
janice jones frazier
September 18, 2005
When I worked at the Colorado Springs Free Press newspaper back in the 1960s, Mrs. Duncan was always a kind and generous source to the editorial staff. The Free Press was just a block west of the Cotton Club on Colorado Avenue. We could always count on her to give us accurate information when we wrote news stories involving local activities. I'll always remember her wonderful gift of food to the staff who worked each Christmas Eve. She truly was a bright light for Colorado Springs and an influence for everything good and positive.
Mary Ann (Ramsay)Keating
Redondo Beach, California
Mary Ann Keating
September 18, 2005
I never tired of hearing the wonderful stories of Fannie Mae's Cotton Club and the legendary woman who ran it. My condolences to the family during the passing of a true Colorado Springs Legend who did so much to break the color barriers in our Community by opening her heart and club to all. May God Bless her.
Barbara Delph
September 18, 2005
As a young boy I use to go over to the Cotton Club and was always allowed in and felt welcome by Fannie Mae. Even though I was a white young man she always welcomed me with open arms and made me feel special. She never had an enemy. I will always remember the many good times in the Cotton Club with her.
I know the community will never forget her and she will be greatly missed by all. My condolences to the family.
Bert Reissig
September 18, 2005
Cousin Fannie Mae, I can't even begin to express the inspiration you provided me during your lifetime. I have so many memories of not only "Duncans" but every time I saw you, you always had words of encouragement for me. You are the epitome of positive thinking as your life clearly demonstrated. Thanks for being a blessing to me. My family and I will miss you dearly and we look forward to seeing you on the "other side" in glory. Love you much.
Richard H. Lloyd, Jr.
September 18, 2005
I will always be grateful to Mrs. Fannie Mae Duncan for her helping me in 1970 at the Cotton Club.
May God Bless her and her family.
Gregory A. Skiba
September 18, 2005
My condolences to losing a legend for Colorado Springs. I have many fond memories of the Cotton Club as being a landmark historical site. Although a young teen it holds many fond memories for me. I know your loss is painful and only hope you have many fond memories as well. My prayers go out to you and all your family.
Kay Crawford-Taylor
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