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Wed, 09.13.2000

First Black Mayor of Selma, Alabama elected

James Perkins

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

Perkins became the first Black mayor of that pivotal southern city a focal point of the American 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.

The Associated Press
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