In 2001, a few African American alumni/ae initiated a Union Black Alumni/ae Association. They subsequently reached out to many other alumni/ae, who returned to Union for a memorable reunion, and reconnected with each other and the institution. Three years later in February 2004, the Black Caucus and the Black Women¹s Caucus of Union hosted the inaugural Trailblazers worship service and celebration. This formal tribute was the embodiment of the organizers’ vision to continue the Association¹s efforts and build on it, in order to connect the powerful legacy of spirituality and strength among the distinguished list of Black Alumni/ae and the current students of African descent.

Each year since, Trailblazers has been an opportunity to honor the powerful legacy of Union’s distinguished Black Alumni/ae and connect them with our current students through worship services and celebrations. The goal of Trailblazers is primarily to provide an opportunity to honor the ministerial work of Union¹s Black Alumni/ae as well as provide a forum for organizing around important and shared social justice issues.

The Trailblazers 2019 series will honor the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. James Hal Cone with four Friday worship services at 7:00 p.m. in James Chapel. The services will focus on Cone’s founding of Black Liberation Theology, as well as the doors he opened for other theologies to emerge, including Same-Gender Loving/LGBTQ Theology and exploration of spiritual musicality. Union will also host a discussion on Friday, February 22 at 5:00 pm, featuring a panel of Dr. Cone’s former students discussing his teaching, mentorship, and impact. No RSVP is required for the weekly worship services. Please RSVP for the panel discussion here.