Ferguson, Missouri is once again in the news again. This time the news is good and history was made.
Six years after Michael Brown Jr., was fatally shot by 28-year-old white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, Councilwoman Ella Jones was elected mayor of Ferguson on Tuesday, June 2nd, becoming the first African-American and first woman chosen by voters to lead the north St. Louis County municipality. The first Black mayor of Ferguson, Missouri, the city where protests helped propel the Black Lives Matter movement into a nationwide crusade, elected its first Black mayor Tuesday night.
Her history-making victory marks the second time Jones broke down barriers in her local government. In 2015, she became the first Black woman to serve on the Ferguson City Council. Despite the Black community making up nearly 70% of Ferguson’s population, the city’s government and police force were largely white at the time.
Jones joined the city government just months after the 2014 death of Michael Brown. His death sparked nationwide protests over police brutality and helped put the Black Lives Matter movement on the map.
Jones defeated fellow council member Heather Robinett. Jones will succeed James Knowles III, who defeated Jones in the 2017 mayoral election and held the office since April 2011. Knowles could not run for re-election due to term limits.
According to her biography on the Ferguson City website, Jones has been a Ferguson resident for more than 40 years. She has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Missouri — St. Louis and completed training in municipal leadership from the Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life at UMSL.
Jones is also a pastor in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and is on the boards of the Emerson Family YMCA and of the St. Louis MetroMarket. As a council member, she served on the human rights, traffic, landmarks, senior citizens, parks and West Florissant Business Association boards.
“It’s a sad way we got known all the way around the world,” she said in an interview last month.
Her campaign largely focused on raising property values in Ferguson and attracting new homeowners.