Trailblazer Awards Presented by the City of Memphis

 The Memphis Heritage Trail, in collaboration with the City of Memphis’ Division of Housing and Community Development, is accepting nominations for the 2017 Trailblazer Award. The award honors Memphians for advancing civil and human rights and for carrying the torch to uphold African-American history and culture.

Criteria for the award includes: contributions to underserved populations through intellectual courage, written or verbal communication or creativity in the arts; contributions to support underserved populations through education or awareness and helping secure the cultural and historical legacy for future generations. Recipients must also have resided in Shelby County at one time and have a favorable overall reputation.

Nominations will open on Friday, November 3, 2017 and close Friday, November 17, 2017. Those interested in nominating a citizen should visit to complete the nomination process.

“This is a great honor for us to recognize these individuals,” said Felicia Harris, manager of Planning and Development for the City of Memphis. “Without these trailblazers, we wouldn’t have a Memphis Heritage Trail. Their efforts in our community should be celebrated.”

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. In Memphis, it is considered the epicenter of African-American history, heritage and culture and will include a walking trail with historical markers.

The 2016 Memphis Trailblazers:

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



About MHT

Memphis Heritage Trail is an expansive plan to celebrate the rich business, culture and musical heritage of African-American achievements in Memphis. The project brings historical tourism, urban redevelopment and city-wide pride to important public spaces. For more information visit