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Black History Boston: Thelma Burns

Thelma D. Burns is a longtime community activist and advocate for the Black community of Boston. Thelma Burns served on the Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) Board of Directors for more than 35 years in multiple capacities, including Board Chair, Vice Chair, and Committee Chair. Thelma has headed the ABCD Dorchester Neighborhood Service Center board for more than 15 years. She also has operated in a leadership capacity on numerous community boards, including Central Boston Elder Services, the Mayor’s Senior Advisory Council, and the Roxbury YMCA.

Photo Credit: Middle Photo – The Bay State Banner, Side Photos – Northeastern University Archives

From 1980 to 2008, Thelma served as the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO) director for the Belmont Public Schools. Thelma received her Bachelor’s in Education from Boston University and her Master’s of Education in Administration from Harvard University. On a national level, in 1968 she was a Robert F. Kennedy Fellow. On May 20, 2016, the Thelma D. Burns Building was dedicated to her in honor of her decades of work. 

Thelma Burns has dedicated her life to uplifting the lives of Boston’s Black community. For all of your contributions, we are proud to honor Thelma’s extensive and transformative work!

Learn more about Thelma Burns

Contact Department: Diversity

Publish Date: Tue, 02/18/2020 – 8:37am