The Memphis Heritage Trail Trailblazer Award is conferred upon an individual who has demonstrated innovative contributions to underserved populations through intellectual courage, written and verbal communication or creativity in the arts. The award recognizes and thanks individuals who have demonstrated passion and commitment to preserving Memphis’ culture and rich heritage for future generations of residents and travelers to experience and appreciate.

Some photos and list of 2016 recipients.

Yvonne & David Acey

Happy Jones

Mark Stansbury

Ekundayo Bandele

Robert Lipscomb

Judge Russell Sugarmon

Joyce Blackmon

Marion Mitchell

Calvin Taylor

Ruby Bright

Dr. James Netters

Henry Turley

Attorney Mike Cody

Charlie Newman

Elaine Lee Turner

Erma Clanton

O C Pleasant

Rosalind Withers

Fred Davis

James D’eke Pope

Jocelyn Wurzburg, J.D.

Bishop William Graves

Beverly Robertson

Jan Young/Assisi Foundation

Rev. LaSimba Gray

Diane Rudner

Dr. Coby Smith


Nominees must have resided in city of Memphis at one time and must have a favorable overall reputation. No posthumous awards will be given. Nominees must also meet one of the following criteria to be eligible: (1) Contributed to underserved populations through intellectual courage, written or verbal communication or creativity in the arts, (2) Made significant contributions to the support of underserved populations through service, education, or awareness or (3) Helped secure cultural and historical legacy for future generations

Nomination Process

Anyone is eligible to submit a nomination for the Trailblazer Award. Nominators are limited to two submissions per year. Nominations must be completed online by the stated deadline. A committee, selected by MHT leaders, will review the nominations and select the recipients. Representatives from the MHT will contact the recipients. Once all recipients have been notified, nominators will be contacted that their nominee was selected.

In the Nominee Category below please specify: intellectual courage, written or verbal communication, creativity in the arts, education or awareness or cultural and historical legacy and include a Nomination Narrative of 500 words or less.

Nomination Form