On this day in Alabama history: Birmingham’s first black mayor was born

On this day in Alabama history: Birmingham’s first black mayor was born
(Joseph Allen/ Alabama NewsCenter)

October 19, 1934

Richard Arrington Jr. was born on Oct. 19, 1934 in Livingston. His father worked as a sharecropper early in Arrington’s life, but moved the family to Fairfield to work for TCI when Richard was 5. The son excelled at Fairfield Industrial High School, Miles College, the University of Detroit and the University of Oklahoma, where he completed his doctorate. Arrington returned to Miles College as a dean until 1970, when he was elected to the Birmingham City Council and served two terms. The city’s black leaders convinced him to run for mayor in 1979 and Arrington gained the endorsement of The Birmingham News, Birmingham Post-Herald and Lt. Gov. George McMillan. Although white voters outnumbered registered black voters by about 14,000, Arrington won a runoff and was sworn in Nov. 12, 1979. He was re-elected to four more terms before retiring in 1999.

Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

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