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First Black Mayor Elected In Once-Segregated St. Petersburg

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Ken Welch attends a victory party Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021 in St. Petersburg, Fla. Thirty years ago, Ken Welch's father sought unsuccessfully to become the first Black mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida. Welch wore his dad's campaign button Tuesday when he claimed a resounding victory for the top office in the once-segregated city. (AP Photo/Curt Anderson)

(AP) — Thirty years ago, Ken Welch’s father sought unsuccessfully to become the first Black mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida. Welch wore his dad’s campaign button Tuesday when he claimed a resounding victory for the top office in the once-segregated city.

Welch recognized his milestone in a speech to supporters after easily defeating Republican Robert Blackmon in a city that is almost 70% white. But Welch said becoming the city’s first Black mayor would be an “empty achievement” unless he is able to achieve more equity for the community.

Welch defeated Republican Robert Blackmon and served five terms on the Pinellas County Commission before his run for mayor.

 

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