Ella Jones elected as first black mayor of Ferguson, Missouri

Ella Jones elected as first black mayor of Ferguson, Missouri
© Ferguson City Council

Ella Jones on Tuesday became the first African American and the first woman elected as mayor of Ferguson, Mo., a historic victory that comes nearly six years after the police killing of black teenager Michael Brown launched massive protests in the city. 

The councilwoman secured 54 percent of the vote while her opponent, Heather Robinett, earned 46 percent support. 

“It’s just our time,” Jones, 65, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “It’s just my time to do right by the people.”

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When she was asked what her historic election would mean for Ferguson’s black residents, she said, “One word: inclusion.”

Jones made history in 2015 when she became the first black woman elected to the city council in Ferguson.

This was her second time running for mayor of the St. Louis suburb. She lost in 2017 to James Knowles III, who was barred by term limits from seeking an additional term.

Her win comes amid international protests following the police-involved killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died last week while in police custody in Minneapolis. Derek Chauvin, the former police officer who was seen kneeling on Floyd's neck as he struggled to breathe during his arrest, has been charged with third-degree murder.

In 2014, Ferguson faced weeks of protests and looting after white police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Brown, who was 18. A grand jury and the Department of Justice under former President Obama declined to prosecute the law enforcement official. 

The city has also seen a fresh wave of protests over Floyd’s death this week, and Jones vowed to focus on assisting businesses in the city.

“I’ve got work to do — because when you’re an African American woman, they require more of you than they require of my counterpart,” Jones said after her victory, in a video posted online after her win. “I know the people in Ferguson are ready to stabilize their community, and we’re going to work together to get it done.”