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 2019 Trailblazers series will honor the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. James Hal Cone with four Friday worship services at 7:00 p.m., February 1, 8, 15, 22. 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 Queer Theology and exploration of Ecological/Environmental Racism. Additional information will be available soon.
2018 marked the 25th anniversary of Dr. Delores Williams’s groundbreaking work, Sisters in the Wilderness. The conference, Beyond the Temple Door There is No Promised Land: Black Women and Challenge of God Talk in the 21st Century, featured noted Womanist theologians: the Rev. Dr. Joy Bostic, the Rev. Dr. JoAnne Marie Terrell, Dr. Anne Elliott, the Rev. Dr. Leslie Callahan, Dr. Dianne M. Stewart, the Rev. Dr. Kimberleigh Jordan, and Dr. Teresa Delgado. A closing panel, moderated by the Rev. Kym McNair, will include the Rev. Dr. Katie G. Cannon, and the Rev. Dr. Eboni Marshall Turman.
Additionally, there was a Preaching Series held every Friday. Sermons were given by: the Rev. Dr. Eboni Marshall Turman, Ms. Onlilove Alston, the Rev. Brenda Ford, the Rev. Dr. Emma Jordan Simpson & Minister Candace Simpson.
Photos by Ron Hester and Katilau Mbindyo