The idea for this book grew out of my deep appreciation for recorded history. I've learned that unless the facts are written, people will soon forget them. So it is important to document the history of the personalities and events that led to my election in1983 as the first African American mayor of Philadelphia, to properly record and connect events so that future generations will understand and appreciate our struggle and our achievements. This book attempts to connect some of the events and personalities of the U.S social and civil rights movements with the movement in the City of Philadelphia between 1968 and 1983 that resulted in a dramatic increase in Black political empowerment. While many of the individuals involved in these events were African Americans, there were also some non-African Americans who played crucial roles in bringing about the transformation. This book will attempt to chronicle all of their roles and put them in chronological order, so that those who read this in the future will know how these events took place.
Those who read it will see that the Black pioneers who pursued public office in Philadelphia during this time were driven and purposeful, and committed to the agenda of empowering Black Philadelphians. They recognized that politics was not the end game, but rather a means to achieving genuine social change and equal justice.
It is hoped that political scientists and students of history will especially find this book useful. While the book looks at some events before 1950, the preliminary period of 1950 to 1968 was critical in bringing about the transformation that took place between 1968 and 1983. For purposes of clarity, this book will discuss the major events of my administration and the administrations of Philadelphia's subsequent mayors from 1992 to 2014, in order to illustrate the evolution of Black empowerment in the city and how these mayors came to be elected. Philadelphia has had three African American mayors.