Ferguson, Mo., Has Never Had a Black Mayor. Until Now

Ella Jones also makes history as first female mayor
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 3, 2020 7:47 AM CDT
Ferguson, Mo., Has Never Had a Black Mayor. Until Now
Ferguson mayoral candidate Ella Jones watches election results come in on April 4, 2017. She was defeated in that race but was elected as Ferguson's first black and first female mayor on Tuesday.   (David Carson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

(Newser) – Six years after protests swept through Ferguson, Mo., in response to the killing of black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer, the city is celebrating a step forward. Ella Jones, the first black woman elected to the City Council in 2015, was elected mayor on Tuesday, becoming the first black leader and first female leader in the city's history, reports the New York Times. "I've got work to do—because when you're an African-American woman, they require more of you than they require of my counterpart," Jones, 65, said following her win. "I know the people in Ferguson are ready to stabilize their community." Asked what her win meant for black residents, Jones said, "One word: inclusion," per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Jones, an African Methodist Episcopal Church pastor who's lived in Ferguson for 40 years, defeated 49-year-old councilwoman Heather Robinett with 54% of the vote. Both candidates said they would continue with a federal consent decree mandating police department reforms and other changes put in place following Brown's 2014 shooting. They also expressed support for peaceful protests over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, but denounced episodes of violence that have prompted a state of emergency and curfew. "It's just my time to do right by the people," Jones tells the Post-Dispatch. She replaces James Knowles III, who defeated her in the 2017 mayoral race. He's been mayor since 2011 and is at the end of his term limit. (Brown's mother lost her bid at a council seat.)

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