They broke the barriers of race with their professions, and on Thursday, Mayor Alvin Brown honored their achievements.
Athletes, educators, doctors and a diplomat were among 14 local African-Americans who received the Mayor's Trailblazer award.
The event was held at City Hall. Channel 4's Melanie Lawson was there to present the awards.
She and Mayor Brown both delivered passionate speeches about those who paved the way for African-Americans to be successful in business, education and public policy.
Urban Trust Bank is a sponsor of the awards ceremony.
Here is a complete list of award recipients:
- Ambassador Reuben E. Brigety, II - First African-American Representative of the United States to the African Union and Permanent Representative of the United States to the UN Economic Commission of Africa from Jacksonville.
- Chandra Cheeseborough-Guice - First African-American three-time Olympic medalist in track and field from Jacksonville.
- Dr. Charles H. Cline - First African-American associate superintendent of Duval County Public Schools.
- Dr. Barbara A. Darby - First African-American female campus president at Florida State College of Jacksonville North Campus.
- Preston Drummer - First African-American secretary-treasurer of Florida AFL-CIO from Jacksonville.
- The Honorable Harold Gibson - First African-American administrative aide to a Jacksonville Mayor.
- Carla A. Harris - First African-American vice chair of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management from Jacksonville.
- Dr. Kenneth W. Jones - Pioneered a groundbreaking kidney transplant procedure in the U.S.
- Reginald Luster, Esq. - First African-American president of the Jacksonville Bar Association.
- Willard Payne - First African-American McDonald's franchise owner in Florida.
- Ralph Smith - First African-American custodial services supervisor for the city of Jacksonville.
- Tonyaa J. Weathersbee - First African-American editorial board member of the Florida Times-Union.
- Dr. Floyd B. Willis - First African-American chief of Family Medicine at the Mayo Clinic.
- Bishop Rudolph W. McKissick Sr. - Inaugural recipient of the Mayor's Lifetime Achievement Award.