Look Up, Boston! Banner Display Of Black Women Leaders Grace Blue Hill Avenue

Blue Hill Avenue in Roxbury has been lined with the faces of over 200 Black female legends via banners in Boston.

The portraits are part of an art installation to honor Black female leaders and pioneers, spotlight their stories and inspire young women in the community. CBS News reported that Ed Gaskin, Executive Director of Greater Grove Hall Main Streets, spearheaded the project.

“People understand and talk about Irish Boston, Italian Boston, with the Cabots, and the Lowells, and the Lodges, but what about Black Boston?” Gaskin said.

The banners, spanning two miles on the poles between Seaver Street and Cottage Street, began as a six-portrait idea and expanded to 212 with funding support from the Kraft Foundation. The portraits, created by two artists over several months, include Bishop Barbara Harris, Rev. Liz Walker, Judge Judith Nelson Dilday, and former Sen. Dianne Wilkerson. State Rep. Ayanna Pressley was also included in the lineup of Boston Legends. As reported by BLACK ENTERPRISE, the congresswoman passed the People’s Response Act in July to end police violence against Black citizens.

“This is the Hall of Fame of Boston’s Black women leaders,” said Gaskin about the banners, according to CBS News.

The Grove Hall director said the project extends beyond honoring “just the most powerful, the most influential, most well-known.” A major part of the mission is to show the younger generation that “no matter what career path you pick, there has already been a Black woman who has succeeded and done that.”

Gaskin encourages parents to take their children on a walk up Blue Hill Avenue to view the portraits and learn about the women who have paved the way. “You look up, and there’s all these of these Black women. It’s a constant reminder of the people who came before them,” he added. He believes the family outing can also become a history lesson for parents.

Gaskin told Dorchester Reporter in May that the “Black Women Lead” Project has been in the works since 2019. Along with the Kraft Foundation, the project is also supported by City Councillor Brian Worrell and state Rep. Chris Worrell.

CBS News reported that the Black Women Lead project honored the 200-plus women at the State House on May 12 for a special brunch. Eighty of the 200 honorees are still living and attended the event at the Hall of Flags, which marked the largest gathering of Black female leaders ever to be honored at the State House at one time.

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