What is your understanding of POLITICAL POWER?

Please research all of the "so called black mayors"----once done, list them in order.  Make comment on sequence of elections. In other words, who was elected first and what year did it happen? In what city did the event (elections) happen and in what year? What happened after the election and was the election the cause? Are there any obvious patterns that should be discussed? What benefits were received because of the election? If there were benefits who received them? Use youtube, yahoo, google search, wikipedia and anything else that you might think of to find information.  Try to find data in the 60 minute forum post, also look into the history channel and time online mag-us news-discovery--use anything and everything that you can think of --- as a suggestion--- in youtube--- you may want to watch Ghost Town 'Gary Indianna'  Rember, electronic sources for data may be the easiest but is not the best way of learning about an issue.  You should learn to be aware of fact vs. fantasy---opinion vs. evidence. There is much more that needs to be developed regarding this post but we will wait until it starts to happen and then expand.  If you are interested in finding out about some of the events that have happened in your life and understanding WHY, you may want to participate in this thread.


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Comment by Clifford Black on May 30, 2013 at 9:20am

This thread is the foundation of a new report on a subject that needs to be understood.


Comment by Adisa on May 29, 2013 at 9:40pm

 Just learned of John Hurston, father of Zora Neale Hurston.  He became mayor of Eatonville, Florida a so called "all black town" that was incorporated into the United States in 1887.

Comment by Adisa on June 21, 2011 at 11:27am

In my brief search I have gathered the following information:

From 1860-1888 only 3 mayors were elected.  This time period included the Reconstruction Era 1863-1877, Civil War 1861-1865, 13th Amendment 1865, Civil Rights Act 1866, KKK founded 1866, 14th Amendment 1868 and 15th Amendment 1870.  Of the 3 mayors elected each were self employed.  There is a 78 year time lapse until the next mayors were elected.

From 1966-1969, the Civil Rights Era 6 mayors were elected.  Of the 6 1 was self employed and 3 were attorneys.  This time period included the passing of the Civil Rights Bill 1964, 1965:  LA Riots, Malcolm X assassination, Vietnam War, 1966:  Black Panther Party, Draft protesting, HUD established, Dept of Transportation created, National Organization of Women formed, 1967 Detroit Race Riots, 1968 Assassination of MLK and JFK and passing of the Fair Housing Act.

From 1970-1979 16 mayors were elected, 5 were attorneys.  1971 26th Amendment and ending of gold standard, 1979 Chrysler government bailout.

From 1980-1989 12 mayors were elected, 2 were attorneys and 3 had military backgrounds.  1984 crack was introduced in LA and 1989 began the war on drugs initiative.

From 1990-1999 13 mayors were elected, 4 were attorneys.  The Gulf War began in 1990, 1992 LA riots and in 1992 the 27th Amendment was created.

From the year 2000 to the present, 28 mayors have been elected, 2 have been attorneys, 3 military and 1 business owner.  Some of the events during this time period were 2000 bombing of the US Cole, 2001 No child left behind act, Economic growth and tax reconsiliation act, September 11, Airline bailout, Afghanistan invasion, Patriot act.  2002 Dept of Homeland Security created, Sniper Attack, 2003 Iraq invasion, 2005 Hurrican Katrina, 2007 recession began, 2008 Oil price spike, Barrack Obama elected as president, 2009 Tea party created, and passing of stimulus bill.

Comment by Brandon Imhotep on June 18, 2011 at 7:22am
@Dr. Black The down path i shall go... I see the Freedman's patterns that i failed to mention now. I will continue researching the next few may-ors and much much more! Thank you!
Comment by Clifford Black on June 15, 2011 at 10:57am

@BI-These are the first steps after one has passed thru the portal it gets very interesting on down the path.  Hoping to see you get there.


Comment by Brandon Imhotep on June 15, 2011 at 4:39am

What is your understanding of POLITICAL POWER? 

 Political power is the central point/part in a complex entity. The state of politics first needs an instrumental spring to rise to a position where it can bear pressure... and support the structure of all sides with principle and stability. 


What a wonderful journey of researching of the 1st so called black mayors. My main research was on 3 of 1st mayors and i found my best information on state websites or town & state history books. (Google Books) The websites i visited had very limited information pertaining to the elections and most had the same data. Below is information i gathered to answer as many of the questions asked..           

(Note: Some of the information may contain erroneous labels like slaves, blacks, whites, etc.)

1st Mayor

Pierre Caliste Landry April 19, 1841 – December 22, 1921 Attorney, politician, and religious leader. A Mason; ordained a minister (Methodist Episcopal Minister). Landry served as mayor of Donaldson and held several offices and positions in Ascension Parrish and New Orleans. He also served in the Lousiana State House of Representative and as a Louisiana State Senator in 1874. Born on the plantation of the late Dr. Francois Provost on April 19, 1841. Named Caliste and was reared by Pierre Bouissiac and his wife Zaides, free people of color, until he was 13. Provost succession sale in May of 1854, Landry was offered to the highest bidder and became the property of M. S. Bringer, one of Ascension's wealthiest sugar planters. He was sold for $1665.00. Landry served as mayor of Donaldson and held several offices and positions in Ascension Parrish and New Orleans. 

City of election and year  Donaldsonville, Louisiana 1868

What was the environment that was being lived before and then after the elections?

Not convinced that former slaves were ready to enter society, the United States Congress created the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands--commonly called the Freedmen's Bureau--in 1865. Agents of the bureau tried to solve many of the problems associated with the ending of slavery. Bureau agents worked to solve labor disputes, prevent reenslavement of former slaves, protect freedpersons from violence, operate schools for blacks, keep former slaves on plantations, and distribute food, clothing, and fuel. Agents served mainly as moderators rather than reformers and could do little to affect postwar social and economic relations. Restricted resources, especially manpower, and lack of initiative kept the Freedmen's Bureau from having much beneficial impact in Louisiana.
The Louisiana Black Code did grant certain rights to freedpersons--to acquire and own property, marry, make contracts, and testify in court--but its primary purpose was to restore the plantation economy by using blacks as poorly paid laborers instead of outright slaves.

The severity of Louisiana's and other states' Black Codes convinced many northerners that only with more radical forms of Reconstruction would southern society change to accommodate ex-slaves as citizens and free workers. Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which defined the rights that all citizens were to enjoy equally without regard to race: to protect person and property, make contracts, and bring lawsuits. This federal legislation prevailed over all state laws and revealed the Republican Party's acceptance of what it had once considered Radical policy.

Radical Republicans in Louisiana, both black and white, reacted to the passage of the Black Codes and the legislature's refusal to enfranchise black men by recalling delegates who had written the Constitution of 1864. Twenty-five white delegates, along with some two hundred supporters, met for their first day of deliberations on July 30, 1866, in New Orleans at the Mechanics' Institute, then used as the statehouse. On that same afternoon a group of white citizens, aided by the New Orleans police and firemen, attacked the delegates and their supporters. These white assailants, many of them Confederate veterans, opposed the convention's goals and were enraged at the prospects of the new Reconstruction order. Federal troops were called in to stop the violence but by the time they arrived the mayhem had run its course. Official reports from the massacre, one of the bloodiest riots of the Reconstruction era in the United States, listed 37 persons (34 black and 3 white Radicals) killed and 146 wounded. Contemporary witnesses believed the numbers to be much higher.

Radical Reconstruction in Louisiana was an intense, occasionally violent, contest between those who favored Radical Reconstruction policies and those who fought for white supremacy as the philosophy that would guide public policy in Louisiana.
"Carpetbaggers"--black and white northerners who moved to the South after the Civil War--were never in the majority in the 1867-68 Louisiana consitutitional convention or subsequent Reconstruction legislatures. White supremacist opponents of Radical Reconstruction developed and perpetuated the tale of the greedy, corrupt northern "stranger" who stripped Louisiana of its resources. Most carpetbaggers were former soldiers from middle-class families who went south seeking a livelihood, not political office. Carpetbaggers who did participate in politics usually did not seize power, as the myth claims, but rather were elected by black and white voters or appointed by Radical Reconstruction officeholders.

The Constitution of 1868 was one of the best in Louisiana history and at the time was one of the most forward-looking constitutions in the United States. It extended voting and other civil rights to black males, established an integrated, free public school system, and guaranteed blacks equal access to public accommodations. The 1868 constitution was also the first one in Louisiana to provide a formal bill of rights. The Black Codes of 1865 were eradicated, as were property qualifications for holding office. Writers of the constitution also disfranchised former Confederates.

In real terms the new constitution did little to end racial discrimination. Although blacks tested antidiscrimination legislation in the courts and authorities occasionally enforced its provisions, the color line was rarely challenged in Louisiana. Most African Americans could not afford to ride trains and steamboats, attend the opera, or eat and drink at exclusive clubs, nor could they pay the costs of bringing the offending institutions to court.

What were the circumstances and the events that were taking place leading up to the elections?

 Louisiana was the only region deep within the Confederacy where Union authorities implemented experimental Reconstruction policies during the Civil War. Louisiana responded to President Abraham Lincoln's plan to readmit southern states into the Union by selecting delegates to write a new constitution. The Constitution of 1864 abolished slavery and disposed of Louisiana's old order of rule by planters and merchants, although it did not give African Americans voting power.It was the first state charter to incorporate Lincoln's conciliatory approach and was the leading test case for postwar policy.

Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 did not apply to Union-held territory. Thus, slavery continued in the thirteen Louisiana parishes under Union control. After much debate, delegates to the constitutional convention agreed to abolish slavery without compensation for masters but not to give the vote to black men. The new constitution, however, authorized the state legislature to extend voting rights to black men who fought for the Union, owned property, or were literate.
The constitution also enabled the legislature to establish a free public school system for all children aged six to eighteen, with no mention of race. Legislators elected under the Constitution of 1864 established schools for whites but not for blacks.

What happened after the election and was the election the cause?

Landry served for a one-year term. That same year Landry formed a self proclaimed faction of the Black Republicans Party in Ascension Parish. He established this faction in response to white carpetbaggers from northern states.

Obvious patterns

 The drive to keep Louisiana in the Union was strong statewide, especially in New Orleans, where the popular vote in the November 1860 election was three to one against secession from the Union. Once Abraham Lincoln was elected president in that year's election, however, sentiments changed rapidly, as Lincoln represented the purely northern Republican party, and many seemed to see his election as a declaration of hostility by the North.

 Influenced by South Carolina's decision to secede from the Union, Louisiana voters elected delegates to the state's secession convention, which met in Baton Rouge in January 1861. Among the delegates, secessionists outnumbered unionists two to one, and the militant attitudes of the public and the press further influenced the convention's vote. Members signed the ordinance of secession on January 26, 1861, thereby making Louisiana the sixth state to secede from the Union.

The Importance Of Louisiana: Because the Mississippi River formed much of Louisiana's border, control of vital ports became a strategic factor for both sides. Once war was declared, the Union's objective in Louisiana was to gain control of the Mississippi River, forcing Confederate troops to defend Louisiana and prevent Federal troops from dividing the eastern and western parts of the Confederacy along the Mississippi.
Louisiana was also strategically important as a conduit for such military supplies as munitions, foodstuffs, clothing, and livestock. Goods from Mexico and Texas flowed eastward and northward along Louisiana railroads and rivers into other Confederate states.

What benefits were received because of the election? 

  In 1872, Landry ran for a seat in the House of Representatives in the state of Louisiana, with the help of Blacks and a significant number of white voters he won the election by a landslide. During his term in the House, he created numerous bills in support of African Americans, one of his more important victories came when his bill passed to establish New Orleans University, which became the third Black private college in Louisiana. In 1874 he was elected state senator where he served until 1880. Landry served as a principal and dean of several high schools, including Gilbert Academy in Baldwin, Louisiana, from 1900-1905. Gilbert Academy was a nationally recognized school that had its beginnings in 1865 as an agricultural and industrial college for recently emancipated Blacks. 1874 - 1880 he served as elected state senator and was appointed to postmaster by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1875. In 1878, he became State Senator for the 8 the Senatorial District of Louisiana and in 1879 was elected a member of the State Constitutional Convention

If there were benefits who received them? African-American Vote Influences Elections An Act of Congress of March 2, 1867, made universal male suffrage one of the conditions for southern states to be readmitted into the Union, and put federal troops in the South to protect this right and maintain order. In 1870, the 15th Amendment guaranteed the right to vote regardless of race. For the first time in the nation’s history, African-American men had political power, and, in many areas of the South, they comprised the majority of voters. In three states – Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina the majority of the population was African American. After the Civil War, the black vote was decisive in the election of several Republican Presidents, including President Ulysses Grant in 1868. In keepingwith the political patronage system of the 19th century, more than 1,400 African Americans were appointed to political office in the South by the victorious Republicans, in what historian Eric Foner termed .America’s first attempt at a “functioning interracial democracy.”


2nd Mayor

William Bennett, Sr. Scott Published The Colored Tennessean, the first newspaper published by and for the newly-free black citizens of Tennessee and Co-Founder of Maryville's Freedman's Normal Instiute, one of the first schools for African American's in East Tennessee.  A free black migrated to East Tennessee in 1847. He was a blacksmith and made harnness in Blount Count Quaker community of Friendsville intil the Civil war. In Knoxville, during the war, Scott learned the trade of printing. In April 1865 with the help of his son, he began the Colored Tennessean in Nashville. The next year he moved to Maryville, Tn where they edited the Blount County Democrat or Blount County Republican. (Pride and Wilson: A history of black press) The Colored Tennessean also known as the Tennessean, was published daily from April 1865 until March 1866. In 1866 the newspaper became a weekly and was owned by Scott, Waring and Co. James P. Danky,. African American Newspapers and Periodicals

City of election and year

Scott was elected mayor in 1879 and served in this office for two year. Following the Civil War, an unusual political atmosphere prevailed for a time in Blount County as several black leaders emerged to play major roles in rebuilding the county’s economy and community. Mr. Slater examines the contributions and legacy of these leaders through the stories of nine key leaders, including educator, newspaper publisher, and Maryville mayor W. B. Scott, Sr., and Alan Garner, Jr., an attorney and active politician. William B. Scott worked for a newspaper in Knoxville as a young man.

What was the environment that was being lived before and then after the elections? 

In 1847, when he was about 26, increased racial tension as a result of the Nat Turner Rebellion led him to relocate to more racially friendly east Tennessee. In the presidential campaign of 1876, Scott supported the Democratic ticket because he felt it would help form a closer political alliance with blacks and whites, and he was called on to make speeches for candidate Samuel J. Tilden in Indiana and Ohio. In his hometown of Maryville, Scott was elected mayor in 1879 and served in this office for two years.

What were the circumstances and the events that were taking place leading up to the elections?

What happened after the election and was the election the cause?

Obvious patterns

What benefits were received because of the election? 

The Maryville Union League greatest accomplishments lay in the political realm. In the gubernatorial races of 1867 and 1869 and the national election of 1868, the Maryville League aided the radical cause wherever possible, the independent of W.B. Scott notwithstanding. In the process it acquired considerable local power. Scott knew that if he were to have credibility in the rough-and-tumble world of competing newspapers, he would have to have a political voice. That may be one reason why he return to Blount county and Maryville where he began the Maryvillie Republican. Scott supported Dewitt C. Sentor against the radical W.B. Stokes in the turbalant 1869 governor's race. Scott support of Sentor started a movement that eventually ended the Republican regime in Tennessee for the time

If there were benefits who received them? 

Blacks were being educated after the war when they needed jobs to support themselves and their families. Maryville's Freedman's Normal Institute 1874 - 1901 Some seven years after the school was opened, 175 teachers had been trained and 80 were scattered across the land, teaching some 2,500 students. By 1878 the school was open ten months a year. Famous Educator Booker T. Washington said about the Freedman's instiute "No other school is doing better work." By 1889 the Freedman's Institute had 211 students and 11 teachers. Scott set an example for future black journalists in Tennessee by striking out on his own in the immediate post-Civil War era

3rd Mayor 

 Edward Park Duplex (May 13, 1831-January 5, 1900) Pioneer of Wheatland, California  His election marked the first time a predominantly white city elected an African American as mayor. Born on May 13, 1831 in New Haven, Connecticut moved to California in 1854 during the Gold Rush.
City of election and year Wheatland, California On April 11, 1888


What were the circumstances and the events that were taking place leading up to the elections? 

Duplex's Hairdressing and Shaving Saloon was located several doors from the Central Hotel in the heart of the business district, and was a locus of Wheatland's civic activity. Here, leaders exchanged information on matters facing the town's development while receiving tonsorial services. The Saloon not only offered the community hair care service and products, it also quickly became a center of political and social information. Leaders discussed civic matters while receiving hair care services. The Wheatland Board of Trustees elected Duplex Mayor of Wheatland.

What was the environment that was being lived before and then after the elections? 

Whites occupied the majority of the white-collar and skilled blue-collar positions. They also occupied semi-skilled and unskilled positions, but enjoyed higher rates of mobility out of those kinds of jobs. People of color, on the other hand, occupied in disproportionate numbers the semi-skilled and unskilled positions at the bottom of the economic ladder. These workers—Indians, blacks, and people of Mexican and Asian descent—had fewer chances to escape the lower rungs (although in some cases members of minority groups owned and operated their own businesses). When white workingmen formed into unions in the American West, they often were organizing not only against capital but also against the non-white worker who, in a variety of ways, was perceived as a threat to whites' economic security. In the Pacific Northwest of the 1880s—the very decade when railroads increased the pace of industrialization in the region—these patterns of labor organization and conflict played out against Chinese communities.

What were the circumstances and the events that were taking place leading up to the elections?

What happened after the election and was the election the cause?

Obvious patterns

What benefits were received because of the election? 

If there were benefits who received them? 

Overall Summary 


With all the information gathered i still didn't have a clear understanding on how to gain political power other than the power of press and communing with citizens/settlers & civic leaders. I saw the mayor as person that took great initiative to pioneer and show a level of concern, wisdom and one who knows how to reach the people about practical matters.   

After watching Ghost Town, D'ville Trailer, Wheatland Remembers and a few Gold Rush documentaries, i saw obvious patterns of people settling in other areas to find better opportunities and improve living circumstances. The Newspapers created power for W.B. Scott and his political reign and also created the Rush in California for Gold and settlement. Press was/is a tool used within politics to spread messages and possibly control thoughts and actions on a grand level. 

So there i was... i still didn't feel like i had a great understand of political power! That is until i opened the dictionary and started looking up power, politics, mayor and may. Power is the ability to do. Politics is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions. Mayor is the highest officer in the municipal government of a town or a large city.

Mayor coming from the Latin maior, meaning "larger, greater." The month of May has been named for the Greek goddess "Maia", who was identified with the Romans goddess of fertility. Maia embodied the concept of growth.

On the 5th definition of May, i found the word

Archaic surviving from an earlier period; specifically : typical of a previously dominant evolutionary stage.

That lead me back to Arch. Then i saw an Arch diagram with the words Impost, Abutment, Springer, Voussoir, Keystone, Extrados, Pier, Intrados, In, Rise and span. I started to look the words up and that is when i think i found my understanding!! I found that the definitions were common with a structure that might evolve to a state of mayorship.

In (Inclusion within), Impost (point of springing), Springer (point of first turn), Voussoir (turn), Intrados (Interior curve apart of voussoir), Abutment (bears the weight or pressure of ac arch), Keystone (center, which holds up the others), Buttresses (serves to support, strengthen, brace, prop or reinforce horizontal) Extrados (Exterior curve above the voussoir),  Pier (spanning an opening and sustaining vertical pressure) Rise (Move from a lower position to a higher one) Span (length) 

The word May lead me back to masonry terminology and that lead me back to researching Pierre Landry, Ulysses S. Grant, the royal arch, geometry, months, days, time, the sun, shapes, societies, structures, symbolism, language and much much more.... Political Power is the keystone needed to build, bridge & support a rise for a span. The more force and tension on the structure... the shorter the span! 



Comment by Aaron (Al) Lewis on April 21, 2011 at 11:11pm

That all important word context.


Comment by Clifford Black on April 21, 2011 at 4:33pm

In doing the research do not forget to use the instructions.


Comment by Raven Writes on April 21, 2011 at 2:06pm
Robert C. Henry also refused to run for re-election! *still searching*
Comment by Raven Writes on April 21, 2011 at 2:03pm

Wikipedia has a list of the first black mayor, the one Lumumba mentioned. I am going a little deeper and below is just a snippet of what I have found so far.


#2  African-American mayor of  Maryville, Tennessee W. B. Scott


However Caliste was the first mayor of a town. It clarifies that Robert C. Henry was the first mayor of a U.S. city, Springfield, Ohio. Oddly he was appointed by the city commission.

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