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Wed, 09.13.2000

First Black elected mayor of Selma, Alabama

James Perkins

On this date in 2000, 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.

Reference:
The Associated Press
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