Carl Stokes was the first democrat black mayor of a major U.S. city. He was elected mayor of Cleveland, Ohio in 1967. Richard Hatcher was elected mayor of Gary, Indiana later the same year. The number of black mayors in the U.S. rose in the early 1970s in major cities such as Detroit, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. Maynard Jackson a democrat, was the first black mayor to be elected in a major Southern city, Atlanta Georgia in 1973. Factors which contributed to the rise in the numbers of black mayors include; Civil rights movement which produced sympathetic whites and increased political consciousness. Secondly, white flight to the suburbs increased after the turmoil of the 1960s.This left a concentrated black population and political power base in the major cities. (Common Ground, 2007)
An example of a black mayor who was elected in one of the cities outside Florida with a population of more than 50,000 people is Anthony Allen “Tony” Williams. He was born in Los Angeles, California on the 28th of July, 1951.He served as mayor from 1999 to 2007 of the District of Columbia. During the final term of Mayor Marion Barry, he rose to prominence as the District of Columbia’s Chief financial officer. William was elected mayor, not because he had held any elected office, but because he made the city recover economically. Although he restored the city to the financial black, he also alienated lower income residents. There were many blacks in the state during his reign. He also encountered problems such as faulty signatures on his petitions which forced him to run as a write-in candidate. (Henri et al, 2005)
Dr. Willie w. Herentot the mayor of Memphis, was born in April 23, 1940.He is the first African-American to be elected mayor of Memphis which holds less than 50,000 people. He won his first term by defeating Richard Hackett in 1991. He was elected to his first term in office on the 4th of October this year making him the first Memphis mayor to be elected to five terms of office. He has been charged with failure to ensure sound fiscal management unlike his counterpart Anthony Allen. However, the increase in the number of blacks in the state has also been noticed during his leadership.
The first black mayor that was elected in Pensacola, Florida, that holds less than 50,000 people was James Perkins, 47 a local business man. He was elected Mayor after defeating Mayor Joe Smitherman. Since then, the population of Florida has changed from being almost entirely white to about 65% black. Blacks make up two-thirds of Florida’s 14,000 voters. Mr. Smitherman had said that if Mr. Perkins won, businesses would leave the town. Mr. Perkins opposed black enfranchisement and he encouraged wider registration of black voters. He openly campaigned for black votes, appointing blacks to jobs in the town administration. (Common Ground, 2007)
Shirley Clarke Franklin the 58th mayor of one of the town councils of Florida. She was born on the 10th of May in 1945. Being a member of the Democratic Party, she was the first black woman to be elected mayor of the major Southern city. The city holds more than 50,000 people. Her first run for the public office was in 2001.She won, succeeding Mayor Bill Campbell. She announced an initiative called “clean water” to address the problem of water pollution and began improving the city’s sewer system. In 2005, time magazine; she was named the five best big-city American mayors. Blacks were pushed out of the state during her reign because of the increased property values and higher real estate taxes. (Coalition Members, 2007)
Coalition Members, (2007). Mayors against Illegal Guns: Retrieved on 29/10/2007
Woodlee,Yolanda;Cauvin, Henri E. (2005). D.C. Election Fraud Case Advances. The Washington Post. Retrieved on 2007-10-29.
Common Ground, (2007-03).The Power of One: Retrieved on 2007-10-29