STOCKBRIDGE— History has been made in the city of Stockbridge with the swearing in of the city’s first black mayor Monday before a crowd in the City Hall chambers.
Mayor Anthony Ford took his oath of office after being elected in November to serve as the next mayor of Stockbridge He is the first African American mayor among Henry County’s four cities.
“There have been plenty of people that have broken certain barriers over the course of time through the entire fight for civil rights and human rights so I don’t take it lightly that I happen to be the first and I will not be the last,” said Ford. “You shouldn’t judge us by the content or the color of our skin, but our character and the fact that African Americans can do things as well as anyone else. We just need the opportunity to show it.”
Ford had served as interim mayor in 2016 and two years mayor pro tem since being first elected to the City Council in 2013.
“When I retired from the army 7.5 years ago, I had no idea I’d be doing this,” Ford said. “I plan to do whatever I can to do the right things with the help of you all, listening to you and working with the council and staff.”
Ford was sworn in by Municipal Court Judge Matthew McCord, who also had some words to say about the historical moment. He recalled his father’s past as a Civil Rights activist in southern Alabama and a time his dad spoke at his grandfather’s church.
“My dad preached a sermon on loving your brother as yourself. At the end of the sermon, he said, ‘Your brother is not always the same color as you.’ My granddad was removed as a deacon of the church and my dad never got to speak there again,” he explained. “But tonight when I go home, I will call my dad on the phone and say ‘Dad, tonight I was humbled to swear in the first African-American mayor of the city of Stockbridge.’”
Council members Lakeisha Gantt also took her oath Monday to return to the dais, as well as Alphonso Thomas who lost re-election in 2015 but was elected again in 2017.
The members join council members Elton Alexander, John Blount and Neat Robinson.
Gantt was elected by her counterparts to serve as the 2018 mayor pro tem.