Alabama town that inspired ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ elects first black mayor

The Alabama town that inspired Harper Lee’s classic novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” recently made history once again by electing its first black mayor.

Charles Andrews, 65, defeated incumbent Sandy Smith in Monroeville’s August 25 election, and is set to take office on November 2, CNN reported.

“Thank you Monroeville,” Andrews said in a video posted to Facebook Sunday. “I am honored and humbled by your confidence and trust in me to represent you as this town’s first African American mayor.”

In a victory speech, Andrews pledged to dedicate his efforts toward several issues, including safe neighborhoods and schools, quality health care, industrial development and a diversified workforce in the city of about 5,700, according to the network.

“Today, as I stand on the threshold of history, the shoulders of our parents and our foreparents, we are one people, one town and one team, all inclusive,” he said in the speech.

In 1994, Andrews became the first black state trooper to achieve the rank of major, AL.com reported. In 2002, then-Gov. Don Siegelman named him the department’s interim director of public safety — the first black person to hold that position.

And in 2011, former President Barack Obama appointed him as US Marshal in Mobile, the outlet reported.

Andrews told AL.com he remembers his first trip to see the 1962 “To Kill a Mockingbird” film starring Gregory Peck. He was with his mother in a segregated theater.

“It didn’t strike me that we were sitting in the black section of the theater,” said Andrews, now 65. “Being a child at the time, and being the first time going to the movies, I was kind of awe-struck.”

While the city has a long history of racial injustices, Andrews said he believes “Monroeville, over the years, has grown past that.”

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