An African-American woman now holds the highest political office in Lynchburg, Virginia, a city named in honor of a man with a reputation for killing Black people.
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Lynchburg City Council made history on Monday night by electing Treney Tweedy to serve as mayor, WDBJ.com, a CBS News affiliate, reported. Tweedy, the city’s first Black mayor, won a tight 4-3 vote by fellow city council members.
“I want to be inclusive of us growing as a city. I also want to continue the economic growth of our city and ensure that the businesses have the workforce that they need,” said Tweedy, who will serve a two-year term, according to The News & Advance.
In Lynchburg, the city council nominates and elects the mayor, who has formal authority only inside the governing body, according to The News & Advance. Tweedy was first elected to the city council in 2014. She served previously as vice mayor under outgoing Mayor Joan Foster, who retired in June.
Tweedy now holds the top post in a city that’s 29 percent African-American and 63 percent white. Lynchburg got its name from John Lynch, who had a reputation in the 18th century for killing slaves who had escaped and outlaws, according to the Washington Post.
During the Civil War, the labor of enslaved men and women was used to build fortifications that saved Lynchburg from Union troops who planned to burn down the city. After the war, nine Blacks were elected to city council during the Reconstruction period.
Tweedy’s election comes during a midterm election season in which several Black female candidates have also made history. One of the most notable wins came in June when London Breed became the first Black female mayor of San Francisco.
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