‘It is time for St. Louis to thrive.’
Those are the words of St. Louis’s first Black woman mayor, Tishaura Jones, joining an exclusive yet historic sorority of Black women running the nation’s biggest cities.
Jones who was the city’s treasurer beat Alderman Cara Spencer by 2,280 votes and will take office on April 20, 2021.
This is also her second run for mayor of St. Louis she lost in 2017 in a tight Democratic primary race to current mayor of St. Louis, Lyda Krewson.
Jones will enter office during a time in which St. Louis is plagued with difficulties: amid the Covid-19 pandemic, two disturbances within two months at the city jail, and a significant increase in homicides in 2020, and a population decline.
From Chicago’s Lori Lightfoot to Atlanta’s Keisha Lance Bottoms and Boston’s Kim Janey, Jones joins a record number of black women elected mayors in the nation’s 100 largest cities.
In 2019, the mayors of the 9 largest American cities were women of color, and five years before that only one Black woman led the nation’s top cities. Muriel Bowser is another example of Black women making mayoral history. She is the first woman ever to be re- elected mayor of DC and the first mayor to earn a second term in 16 years.
“Black women have been the backbone of our party at every level, from volunteering to organizing, getting out the vote and increasingly being candidates ourselves,” said Bowser.
These women are carrying on a legacy started by Leila Foley-Davis, a single mother of five, who made history 51 years by becoming the first Black woman mayor in the country when she was elected in Taft, Oklahoma. That same year Doris Davis became the first Black woman mayor of a metropolitan city when she became the mayor of Compton, California.
Although Black women are making strides in this area, where women were once absent, they are still underrepresented. Altogether Black women govern only 4 percent of the biggest American cities.
“This is a time to lead with our head and our heart. My heart is above everything else, I am a mother of four Black children in this country,” said Lance-Bottoms. “And as the only Black women mayors of the 100 most populous U.S. cities, these women continue to lead and heal their communities in the face of injustices.”