Stone Mountain, Ga.’s First Black Mayor Dies

Published February 19, 2009

Charles “Chuck” Burris, the first African-American mayor of Stone Mountain, Ga. – where the modern Ku Klux Klan was born in 1915 – died last week in Annapolis, Md., from post-surgery complications, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. He was 57.

When Burris announced his candidacy for the Stone Mountain City Council in 1991, which he lost to Gary Peet, he attracted an unlikely supporter, James Venable, the former Imperial Wizard of the National Knights of the KKK who held many rallies atop Stone Mountain, according to the Constitution-Journal.

Six years later, Burris was elected the first African-American mayor of Stone Mountain. Born in Louisiana, Burris arrived in Atlanta in 1967 to attend Morehouse College on Scholarship.

He went to Saturday classes with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and then to law school. He later landed a job as a crime analyst in the administration of the late Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson.

He moved to Maryland in 2007 to work at Lockheed Martin in Baltimore.

He is survived by his wife, Marcia Baird Burris; four children; one stepchild; and 12 grandchildren.

Written by BET.com Staff

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