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Black History Stroll 2023: Virtual Exhibit
Additional Information

Marvin Gilmore

Entrepreneur, Nonprofit President and CEO, Veteran

The great-grandson of a woman born into slavery, Marvin Gilmore has spent decades earning a respected reputation as a World War II veteran, a humanitarian, an entrepreneur, a political advisor, and a devoted family man —among many other roles.


His achievements include having founded the Western Front nightclub in Cambridge in 1967 and co-founding Boston’s first Black-owned and operated commercial bank, the Unity Bank and Trust Company, in the late 1960s. He also served on the Low Income Housing Commission, which paved the way for the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency. Additionally, for over 40 years Gilmore served as the President and CEO of the Community Development Corporation of Boston, a nonprofit seeking to provide Boston residents of all backgrounds with greater economic opportunities.


As he nears his 100th year, he continues actively investing in his community and working to provide greater economic and housing opportunities to Cambridge residents from all walks of life.

  1. “Cultural Visionary: Marvin Gilmore.” Cambridge Community Foundation. Accessed November 3, 2022.  ​


A.J. Spears Funeral Home

Funeral Home Directors

First opened in 1964 by Andrew J. and Artis B. Spears, the A.J. Spears Funeral Home is a family owned and operated funeral service and cremation provider. Since its founding nearly 60 years ago, this Black-owned business has been a family affair, with Artis continuing to run the funeral home with her son Anthony following Andrew’s passing in 2013. 

The A.J. Spears Funeral Home has long provided dignified and dependable services to bereaved families in Cambridge and its surrounding communities, and the family has taken pride in being professional, comforting, and steady-handed during the most trying moments as family members lay their loved ones to rest. For these reasons, the Spears family has been one of the true pillars of the Cambridge community over the past decades. 

  1. Information courtesy of Artis Spears

Erinn Pearson

Salon Owner, Stylist, Mentor

For over two decades, Erinn Pearson has been known as the owner and head stylist of Simply Erinn's, constantly making sure that Cambridge residents look their best. 


Simply Erinn’s has won numerous national awards and accolades for innovation and cultural awareness and sensitivity. More than just the owner of a beauty salon, Pearson is committed to all aspects of women’s health. She participated in Cambridge’s domestic violence awareness “Cut it Out” campaign as well as opened her salon to host the monthly “Sister To Sister” Community Conversations for Women of Color — a program which helps teach participants how to better navigate and advocate for themselves in the healthcare system. Additionally, Pearson has served as a business mentor and advisor to the young women of the Girls Only Leadership Program.


Pearson was chosen as one of the YWCA Cambridge’s “Outstanding Women” in 2015, and to this day continues to find ways to inspire and uplift the people who make her women-owned-and-operated salon a true hub of the Cambridge community.

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