While the city of Atlanta is still celebrating the triumphant victory of Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms as she starts heads into her third week in office, three other mayors in the metropolitan area have achieved similar historic firsts in their rise to power.
Though Mayor Bottoms is the Mayor of Atlanta by title, she is just one of many mayors who hold office in over 30 municipalities that make up Metro Atlanta. Mayor Anthony Ford of Stockbridge, Mayor Deana Holiday Ingraham of East Point, and Mayor Angelyne Butler of Forest Park now join her amongst those ranks.
Two of them are making history as the first African American mayors in their respective cities. All are qualified individuals who have pledged their lives to civil service and have prior served their communities as in some capacity.
Besides being the first African American mayors of their cities, Mayor Butler and Mayor Ford also share a common bond in their military backgrounds.
Ford is a retired colonel, serving 30 years in the US Army. With a degree from Northeast Missouri State University, now known as Truman State University, life after military service consisted of being a citizen volunteer on the City of Stockbridge Sign Ordinance Committee and Community Partnership Grant Committee.
Similarly, Butler’s familiarity with the military may come from being the daughter of a US Army Command Sergeant Major.
She spent her childhood on a military base, watching her father make the tough decisions the man in charge. Despite becoming a 14-year-old teenage mother, she completed high school and received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Spelman College.
Butler went on to get a master degree in public administration from Troy University and is a doctoral candidate in public policy and administration at Walden University.
Before becoming Mayor of Forest Park, she worked in the Douglas County Magistrate Courts and Fulton County Registration and Elections.
Mayor Deana Holiday Ingraham’s route to the East Point Mayor’s Office was different compared to her peers. Her resume reads off a post-secondary education instructor, a Director of Student Discipline, a Director in the juvenile justice system, and an attorney who managed her own firm.
After graduating from Florida A&M University (FAMU) with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and Business Administration, and a double minor in Criminal Justice and Psychology, she went on to pursue a Juris Doctorate degree at Howard University of Law.
Ingraham later acquired a Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice with a Specialty in Child Protection and Juvenile Justice from Nova Southeastern University.
As an attorney, Ingraham specialized in representing senior citizens and abused, abandoned and/or neglected children. When she decided to devote her life to public service has she become a member of Council and served as the 2014 Provisional Mayor Pro Tem. Ingraham has also served on the Budget Committee and Human Resources Committee for East Point.
It seems extraordinary that these three municipalities would acquire such esteemed individuals to represent them. It’s even more special for Ford, who is privileged enough to be a leader for the ancestral home of the infamous King family.
Many people either forget or don’t know that Martin Luther King Jr.’s father and paternal grandparents are originally from Stockbridge. Ford considers it an honor to be the first African American mayor for a city that has given so much to the African American community, through a bloodline that also impacted the world.
Unlike former Mayor of Atlanta Kasim Reed, none of these individuals previously held any aspirational goals of becoming a mayor.
For them, it is a necessary step to ensure that their communities are represented by people who not only inhabit the area but also have an agenda that reflects the best interests of the citizens.
This example of favorable and effective representation is exactly the thing that gives people hope during these tough times where President Donald Trump is the 45th occupant of the White House.