As part of our Black History Month celebration West End House staff researched Black trailblazers ranging from author, educator, activist, artist, local heroes and more who have helped shape the nation through their contributions and sacrifices. To celebrate and honor these Black leaders each day one of our youth members highlighted one figure over our intercom system. The announcement also included a historic song by a back performer/s. 

Trailblazers featured include:

Octavia Butler: science fiction author and multiple recipient of the Hugo and Nebula awards
Ibram X Kendi: author, professor, anti-racist activist and historian
Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley
Mae Jemison: engineer, physician and former NASA astronaut
Kara Walker: painter, filmmaker, and professor
Melnea Agnes Cass: community and American civil rights activist
Francois-Dominique Toussaint Louverture: Haitian general and prominent leader of the Haitian revolution
Harlem Hellfighter Band: the 369th Regiment “Hellfighters Band” was relied upon in battle and also for morale
Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune: American civil rights pioneer and educator
Jean-Michel Basquiat: Neo-Expressionist painter
Kendrick Lamar: Hip Hop artist, rapper, songwriter and record producer
Amanda Gorman: poet and activist
James Baldwin: essayist, playwright, novelist and voice of the American civil rights movement
Charles D. King: Founder & CEO of MACRO, a multi-platform media company representing the voice and perspectives of people of color
Ruby Bridges: American American civil rights activist and the first African-American child to desegregate the all-white William Frantz Elementary School in Louisiana during the New Orleans school desegregation crisis in 1960
Melvin Herbert King: an American politician, community organizer, and educator, who holds the position of Senior Lecturer Emertius at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in their Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Mel D. Cole: an American documentary photographer known for his intimate black and white photography of hip hop
Dawnn Jaffier: lifelong member of the West End House whose passion was improving the lives of young people across Boston. Before becoming an innocent victim of violence, Dawnn was a mentor and role model for hundreds of young people at the West End House and beyond

Musical artists included Sounds of Blackness, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, The Jackson 5, Mos Def, Sister Sledge, Public Enemy, Sam Cooke, Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth, Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, John Legend and Common, Lauryn Hill, India Arie, Burna Boy, H.E.R., Sunday Service Choir, and Beyonce.