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Featured Trailblazers || Seat at the Table

Featured Trailblazers in the "A Seat at the Table" Exhibit

The next phase in the “A Seat at the Table” exhibit will include twenty artist-created chairs representing the stories of both historic and contemporary trailblazers.

The twenty people whose lives are being interpreted by twenty artists in the “A Seat at the Table” exhibit are from both the past and the present. Each of them has had an impact on society through their lives, their work, and their struggles.

  • Mary McLeod Bethune (1875 - 1955)
    Highest ranking African-American in the Roosevelt Administration as Head of the Office of Minority Affairs.
    Artist team selected: Carol Krentzman, Jeff Olsen, Jason Cheeseman-Meyer
  • Cesar Chavez (1927 - 1993)
    Highly successful Latino-American activist who focused on labor and civil rights of migrant workers.
    Artist selected: Liz Shepherd
  • Shirley Chisholm (1924 - 2005)
    The inspiration for this project, she was a Congresswoman and the first woman to run for the Democratic Party’s nomination for President.
    Artist selected: Marc Bushelle
  • Raffi Freedman-Gurspan (1987 - )
    Trans-rights activist in Massachusetts who connects LGBT issues to racial and economic justice and serves as the current director of external relations at the National Center for Transgender Equality.
    Artist selected: Verneda Lights
  • Emma Gonzalez (1999 - )
    Gun control activist and organizer of March for Our Lives, who has acted in response to the school shooting she survived at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
    Artist team selected: Ashley and Mic Billingsley
  • Deb Haaland (1960 - )
    First Native American woman to become a member of Congress; an entrepreneur, single mother, and member of Laguna Pueblo.
    Artist selected: Patricia Michaels
  • Grace Hopper (1906 - 1992)
    Influential computer scientist in a time when women were excluded from the field and earned a position as Rear Admiral in the U.S. Navy.
    Artist selected: Dwora Fried
  • Daniel Inouye (1924 - 2012)
    Hawaii’s first Congressman and the first United States Senator of Japanese ancestry, who advocated for veterans, Hawaiians, and indigenous groups; and those considered minorities.
    Artist team selected: Margot Stage and David Crane
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 - 1968)
    Civil rights leader who advocated for nonviolent activism to improve rights for people of color.
    Artist selected: Larry Pierce
  • Jim Langevin (1964 - )
    Congressman from Rhode Island who is the first quadriplegic to serve in Congress, co-founder of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, and Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Disability Caucus.
    Artist selected: Sally Fine
  • Barbara Lee (1946 - )
    Congresswoman from California, delegate for Shirley Chisholm in 1972, advocate for women, children, and people of color.
    Artist selected: Janine Harper
  • Barbara Mikulski (1936 - )
    Longest serving woman in Congress who actively organized and mentored women in the United States Senate.
    Artist selected: Kristina McComb
  • Therese Murray (1947 - )
    First woman to serve as Senate President in Massachusetts and the only woman to ever lead the state Senate or House, who got her start working for Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s first Senate campaign.
    Artist selected: Brian Holbrook
  • Frances Perkins (1880 - 1965)
    First female member of a Presidential Cabinet, serving as Secretary of Labor for President Roosevelt as a strong advocate for organized labor, civil rights, and European refugees fleeing the Nazis.
    Artist selected: Jeffrey Chandler
  • Ayanna Pressley (1974 - )
    First woman of color to represent Massachusetts in Congress and the first black woman in the Massachusetts House delegation, who cites Shirley Chisholm as the inspiration to earn her “seat at the table.”
    Artist selected: Marlon Forrester
  • Condoleezza Rice (1954 - )
    First black woman to be appointed national security advisor and first black female United States Secretary of State.
    Artist selected: Jane Brucker
  • Yara Shahidi (2000 - )
    Harvard student, actress, and activist whose organization Yara’s Club brings high school students together to discuss social issues, empowerment, and education.
    Artist selected: Jaleel Campbell
  • Eunice Kennedy Shriver (1921 - 2009)
    Disability rights activist and philanthropist who created the Special Olympics and changed America’s views on intellectual disabilities.
    Artist selected: Esther Shavon
  • Margaret Chase Smith (1897 - 1995)
    First woman to serve in both the United States Senate and the House of Representatives and the first woman to run for president under a major party.
    Artist selected: Ellen Hanaeur
  • Lucy Stone (1818 - 1893)
    Suffragist and abolitionist from Massachusetts who was instrumental in winning the right to vote for women and men of color.
    Artist selected: Merill Comeau