Story at a glance
- Monroeville was home to “To Kill a Mockingbird” author Harper Lee.
- Charles Andrews, 65, defeated incumbent Sandy Smith on Aug. 25 and is set to be sworn into office on Nov. 2.
- “Today as I stand on the threshold of history, the shoulders of our parents and our foreparents, we are one people, one town and one team, all inclusive,” Andrews said in a victory speech.
The small town in Alabama that inspired the American literary classic “To Kill a Mockingbird” and was home to the book’s author Harper Lee has made history by electing its first Black mayor.
Monroeville, a town of about 5,700 residents, elected Charles Andrews to be its next mayor, making him the first African American to ever be elected to that position.
Andrews, 65, defeated incumbent Sandy Smith on Aug. 25 and is set to be sworn into office on Nov. 2.
“Today, as I stand on the threshold of history, the shoulders of our parents and our foreparents, we are one people, one town and one team, all inclusive,” Andrews said in a victory speech, according to CNN.
“I am looking forward to working with the city council, the police department, business leaders, my staff and everyone for the betterment of the town and its citizens...There is no time to waste,” Andrews said.
Andrews was the first Black state trooper in Alabama’s Department of Public Safety to reach the rank of Major in 1994 and became the first African American to serve as interim director of the department eight years later, according to AL.com. In 2011, he was appointed by President Barack Obama as U.S. Marshal in Mobile, Ala.
During an interview with AL.com, Andrews recalled his first time going to see “To Kill a Mockingbird” inside a segregated theater.
“It didn’t strike me that we were sitting in the black section of the theater,” Andrews AL.com. “Being a child at the time, and being the first time going to the movies, I was kind of awestruck.”
Andrews told the outlet that while his city has a long history of racial injustice, he believes “Monroeville, over the years, has grown past that.”
“One of the things I learned during my campaign is that there are so many people, a diverse group of people, and the biggest they want to do is not just have someone to talk to, but someone who will listen to what their concerns are,” he said.
Lee’s Pulitzer-Prize winning novel published in 1960 has become a classic of modern American literature, highlighting race and justice in the U.S.
Andrews’s victory comes as Pleasant Grove, a predominantly Black city just a few hours from Monroeville, elected Black candidates to serve on the city council for the first time in its history.