Many know of the epic achievements of Mount Vernon’s late Mayor Ronald A. Blackwood. But it was the “small” things Mayor Blackwood did that make him a legend in the hearts of City Council members, both past and present.
Current City Council President Roberta L. Apuzzo notes, “I met Mayor Blackwood about 25 years ago when I became a Rotarian. He was very involved…whether it was selling plants at Hartley Park, painting hospital rooms, or cooking and serving at a pancake breakfast. He was a very humble man.”
“Mayor Blackwood is historic for changing the complexion of Mount Vernon politics,” shares Councilman Marcus A. Griffith.
“I worked with the Blackwood administration for 10 years, first as the 2nd Deputy Comptroller then as Director of Emergency Services and Civil Defense,” notes Councilman J. Yuhanna Edwards. “Mayor Blackwood was a true statesman. He taught me how to better represent this great City.”
“I was a senior at Mount Vernon High School when Mayor Blackwood stopped by to see how we students were doing,” remembers Councilwoman Lisa A. Copeland. “He had a knack for connecting with youth.”
“As one of the earliest Black elected officials in Mount Vernon who is still living, I served on the City Council with Ronald Blackwood in the 1980s,” says James R. Jubilee who served on the Mount Vernon School Board from 1971-1981 and on the Mount Vernon City Council from 1982-1996. “Many of us learned how to be better politicians by watching Blackwood in action.”
Former Councilmember Steven Horton reflects, “Shortly after he was elected, Mayor Blackwood created the position of 2nd Deputy Commissioner in the Buildings Department to improve code enforcement and better provide people with safe, decent, affordable housing. I was the first to hold that position.”
Former Councilwoman Loretta Hottinger adds, “Mayor Blackwood represented the finest of Mount Vernon. He leaves a great legacy.”
In sum, “Mayor Blackwood was a pioneer who opened the door and held it open for many of us to get through,” says Councilman André Wallace.
Mayor Blackwood will truly be missed. But most of all, he will be remembered.
AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief of Black Westchester and Co-Owner of Urban Soul Media Group, the parent company, Host & Producer of the People Before Politics Radio Show. AJ is a Father, Brother, An Author, Journalism Fellow (Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism), Hip-Hop Artist - one third of the legendary underground rap group JVC FORCE known for the single Strong Island, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian, Documentarian, Activist, Criminal Justice Advocate and Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale, Sonicnet.com, Launch.com, Rolling Out Newspaper, Daily Challenge Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine, Word Up! Magazine, On The Go Magazine and several others.