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Sun, 05.13.1951

Sharon Sayles Belton, Politician born

Sharon Sayles Belton

Sharon Sayles-Belton was born on this date in 1951. She is a Black administrator, community activist, and politician.

Sharon Sayles was born in Minneapolis, one of four girls from the family of Bill and Ethel Sayles.  She graduated from Central High School and from MaCalester College in St. Paul in 1973.  She then worked as a civil rights activist in Jackson, MS.  She returned to Minnesota, worked as a parole officer, and later served as the assistant director of the Minnesota Program for Victims of Sexual Assault.  She also co-founded the Harriet Tubman Shelter for Battered Women.

Sayles Belton’s political career began in 1983 when she was elected to the Minneapolis City Council, serving in that capacity for ten years, and as council president from 1990 to 1993. In 1993, she was elected mayor of Minneapolis for two terms. She retired from elective politics on January 2, 2002, after serving Minneapolis for 18 years.  Sayles Belton’s areas of expertise include public policy development; community development; neighborhood revitalization; family and children's issues; police-community relations; racial inequality; anti-racism programs; women's issues; and youth development.

Sayles Belton is currently a senior fellow, working with the Hubert Humphrey Institute's Roy Wilkins Center for Human Relations and Social Justice.  She is involved in anti-racism initiatives and improving information sharing between community organizations and research institutions like the Humphrey Institute.  She also lectures on her experiences as an elected official and policymaker.

Minnesota Historical Society
345 W. Kellogg Blvd.
Saint Paul, MN 55102-1906

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