March 18

March 18, 1933 – Unita Zelma Blackwell

The first African American elected female mayor in the state of Mississippi, Unita Blackwell was born on March 18, 1933 in Lula, Mississippi. Blackwell was elected Mayor of Mayersville, Mississippi in 1976.

Unita Blackwell

Unita Blackwell

Although Blackwell is often remembered for her political activities as the first African American elected female mayor in the state of Mississippi, her roots run deep in civil rights.  She became involved with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) as a Project Director in Mississippi.  She was instrumental in the organization of voter drives throughout Mississippi.  She suffered immensely for her civil rights leadership and was arrested over 70 times.  But her devotion to the betterment of others is documented by her real life service as a prime organizer in the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, Vice Chairman of the Mississippi Democratic Party, national president of the National Conference of Black Mayors, a member of the Democratic National Committee and co-chairman of the Mississippi Democratic Party.  Blackwell has also been very active in the U.S. China relations by serving as the National President of the U.S. China People’s Friendship Association.