Arkansas’ Capital City Could Elect its First Black Mayor
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Six decades after nine black students were escorted past an angry white mob into Little Rock Central High School, the city at the center of the desegregation crisis may be on the verge of electing its first African-American mayor. But Frank Scott, the 35-year-old banking executive who may break that barrier, says it’s not his motivation for running to lead his hometown.
“I’m not running to be the black mayor of Little Rock,” Scott said.
Scott could win by bridging some of the biggest rifts in Arkansas’ capital: race, income and geography. He’s a native of one of Little Rock’s poorer areas who has risen in its more affluent part in professions — politics and finance — dominated by white men.
Race is hard to escape in the campaign for mayor in Arkansas’ capital, where divisions linger long after the school’s 1957 desegregation. The city’s police department has faced questions about its tactics, including the department’s use of no-knock warrants. The predominantly black Little Rock School District has been under state control for the past three years, and community leaders have compared the takeover to Gov. Orval Faubus’ efforts to block integration.
Black leaders in the city view the Dec. 4 runoff as a chance for Little Rock to address some of its biggest divisions.