This Day in Black History: Jan. 3, 1966

Robert C. Henry became the nation's first African-American mayor.

Posted: 01/03/2013 08:30 AM EST

(Photo: WikiCommons)

Robert C. Henry, born on July 16, 1921, in Springfield, Ohio, was a local funeral director and World War II Army veteran, when he became mayor of his hometown on Jan. 3, 1966.

Johnson also was a Republican, and had served for 10 years on the Springfield City Commission, which appointed him mayor, making him the first African-American to head an American city.

Henry's legacy is often overshadowed by Carl B. Stokes, who was elected mayor of the much larger Cleveland in 1967, and the first Black mayor of a major American city.

He served just one term so he could fulfill other ambitions. Henry was a member of a fact-finding commission to Vietnam under Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. He launched a bid in 1970 to serve in the Ohio House of Representatives, but was unsuccessful.

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