First Black elected mayor of Selma, Alabama

James Perkins
Wed, 2000-09-13

On this date in 2000, Selma, Alabama, Black businessman James Perkins defeated White incumbent Joe Smitherman for mayor. Smitherman, a former segregationist, was first elected before the bloody civil rights march of 1965.

Perkins became the first African American mayor of that pivotal southern city a focal point of the Civil Rights movement.

Perkins received 6,326 votes, 57 percent of the vote in the nonpartisan runoff which featured a heavy turnout. Smitherman had 4,854 votes, 43 percent.

To Become a Political Scientist

The Associated Press
450 W. 33rd St.,
New York, NY 10001.