October 30, 1979
In a run-off election on this day, Richard Arrington Jr. was elected the first black mayor of Birmingham. Arrington served until July 1999, for nearly 20 years, until his resignation. So far, he holds the title as the longest-serving mayor in the city’s history and its only five-term mayor. Arrington served immediately following David Vann and ahead of his retirement in 199, installed then-City Council president William Bell as interim mayor in an unsuccessful effort to help Bell succeed Arrington. Arrington was born in 1934 in Livingston.
Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.
Alabama Gov. George Wallace, seated, and Birmingham Mayor Richard Arrington Jr. in February 1984 discuss a bill authorizing a horse track with legalized gambling in Birmingham. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of the Alabama Department of Archives and History, photograph by James Hatcher)
Livingston native Richard Arrington Jr. (1934- ) was Birmingham’s first black mayor, leading the city from 1979-1999. His tenure included great strides in racial equality and economic development in Birmingham, as well as accusations of cronyism. His election was in large part the result of Judge U.W. Clemon’s efforts to improve race relations in the city. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of The Birmingham News)
(Joseph Allen/ Alabama NewsCenter)
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