Lelia Foley Davis was the first African American woman to be elected mayor in the United States. She lost her seat and regained it again. She was and currently is mayor of the all black town, Taft, Oklahoma. EVERYDAY is Black History.
Davis was born on November 7, 1942, and raised in Taft, Foley-Davis graduated in 1960 from Moton High School. In January 1973, Foley was a divorced mother of five, surviving on welfare. She had run for a spot on the school board of Taft, Oklahoma. She lost the election, but was inspired to positively changer her town and by the successful election A. J. Cooper as mayor of Pritchard, Alabama. Davis raised $200 dollars from her supporters and family. She then pursued Tafts’ mayoral seat.
On April 3, 1973, the citizens of Taft elected Foley as mayor. In doing so, she became the first African American female mayor in United States history. Her election predates that of Doris A. Davis, who was elected mayor of Compton, California later that year. In the wake of her victory, Foley would confer with Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. In 1974, Oklahoma named Foley Outstanding Woman of the Year. Davis lost her mayoral seat in the 1980s,, however she continued to serve her community. In 2000, known Lelia Foley-Davis regained her position as mayor. At the beginning of the twenty-first century she continued to reside in Taft, where local highway signage proclaimed the town “the Home of Lelia Foley-Davis.”
Lelia Foley Davis is truly an amazing black women pioneer. She was the first black woman to become mayor of an American city. This accomplishment is grand. What is grander is Davis ability to strive despite difficulty. Davis was a single parent of five children, but still felt passionate about pursuing her dreams of helping her town. She did not become a victim of her circumstance. She exuded the inner strength, confidence and hard work needed to reach her aspirations. Family, this is what we must do to. We must not become victims of our circumstance. We can change any problems that enter our lives, as long as we do not give up. Use your situations as Davis did to motivate you towards triumph and happiness. We can all become better and have our lives flourish if we make it happen and believe in ourselves. ~Know Your Worth~ -M. Millie