Inaugural Trailblazer Awards Presented by the City of Memphis

(MEMPHIS, TENN – December 8, 2016) Yesterday the City of Memphis and the Division of Housing and Community Development paid tribute to 28 individuals with the Memphis Heritage Trailblazer award. This first time event honored Memphians for advancing civil and human rights and for carrying the torch to uphold African-American history and culture. The program also provided an overview of the Memphis Heritage Trail’s plan that has projected opportunities of an economic development impact of more than 1,000 new jobs and $84 million in additional tourism revenue.

“We are extremely excited about the Memphis Heritage Trail project and it has been eight years of planning to get us where we are today,” said Felicia Harris, Manager, Planning and Development, City of Memphis. “It is important for us to pay homage to those individuals who have fought and continue to fight for civil and human rights. Memphis reaps the benefits of their labor and we honored that today.”

The Memphis Heritage Trail is a historic 60-block redevelopment area in downtown Memphis. The project has been in the works since 2008 and includes the area bordered by Beale Street on the north, Main Street on the west, Crump Boulevard on the south and Walnut Street on the east. Community assets within the area are: Clayborn Temple, Mason Temple, Universal Life Building and the National Civil Rights Museum. It is considered the epicenter of African-American history, heritage and culture and will include a walking trail with historical markers.

“Society has so much to thank these individuals for,” said Jim Strickland, Mayor of Memphis. “These recipients come from all walks of life and have sacrificed to make a better Memphis for us all.”

The awards program was held at the Halloran Centre in downtown Memphis.

Here is a list of the Memphis Heritage Trailblazer Award Honorees: 
Yvonne & David Acey
Robert Lipscomb
Judge Russell Sugarmon
Ekundayo Bandele
Marion Mitchell
Calvin Taylor
Joyce Blackmon
Dr. James Netters
Henry Turley
Ruby Bright
Attorney Charlie Newman
Elaine Lee Turner
Attorney Mike Cody
O C Pleasant Rosalind Withers
Erma Clanton
Diane Rudner
Jocelyn Wurzburg, J.D.
Fred Davis
James D’eke Pope
Jan Young/Assisi Foundation
Bishop William Graves
Beverly Robertson
Rev. LaSimba Gray
Dr. Coby Smith
Happy Jones
Mark Stansbury