Christophe Guilhou, Consul General of France in Boston, will award the first African American from New England with France’s Legion of Honor Medal to Marvin Gilmore Jr. for his service in the 458th, Battery ‘A’ Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion.
Gilmore, a longtime Boston and Cambridge businessman and political advisor, served on D-Day’s Normandy, Utah and Omaha Beaches.
Gilmore, 85, was a co-founder of the Unity Bank and Trust Company in Roxbury in the late 1960s, the first black-owned and operated commercial bank in Boston. Later, he served on the Low Income Housing Commission, whose proposed legislation created the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency.
Since 1973, Mr. Gilmore has served as the President and CEO of Community Development Corporation of Boston, a community-based, private, non-profit economic development organization. Gilmore also serves as a trustee of Boston Local Development Corporation under Mayor Thomas Menino.
For the last 42 years, he has owned and managed the Western Front in Cambridge, a popular night club that features Reggae, Latin, Jazz, and Salsa music.
In 2000, Mr. Gilmore was featured by Tom Brokaw in an NBC Nightly News special on minority service in World War II. In celebration of the 2000 Day of Honor, Gilmore joined former President Bill Clinton at the White House with General Colin Powell and the late Sen. Edward Kennedy. Gilmore also participated in the Laying of the Wreath of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.