‘Historic moment:’ Edmondson sworn in as first Black mayor of LaGrange

Published 10:30 am Wednesday, March 29, 2023

By: Olivia Johnson

On Monday, history was made as Dr. Willie Edmondson was sworn in as LaGrange’s first African American mayor since the city’s founding — 195 years ago.

Upon officially being sworn in as mayor, Edmondson said he felt humbled.

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“For me to be chosen as the first African American mayor, I feel humble. The more that I look at the situation, the humbler I feel,” Edmondson said. “This is a very historical moment — and I use that word historical — because now it shows every Black child that comes along, they have an opportunity. It shows a person that might have come from nothing that they can become something. 

Now, here I am as the head of the city.”

Edmondson served as LaGrange city councilman for 24 years before being elected mayor. 

He was first elected as a city councilman in 1998 and during his time he helped bring community development projects to life including the Great Wolf Lodge, the Griggs Recreational Center, The Thread and more.

Former councilwoman Norma Tucker said it was an honor to be in attendance at Edmondson’s swearing-in.

“We’re just saying how much of an honor it is to be connected to a higher power when we have just been through storm after storm after storm. Now, we get to be here on this glorious occasion, this historic occasion, for such a deserving person. I am honored to be here,” Tucker said.

Attendee Christina Lewis said in her 75 years, she never thought she’d see a Black mayor in LaGrange.

“This is truly a historic occasion that I am blessed to be able to see with my own eyes. I hope this will set a precedent, and we will see LaGrange represented by all types of people. Who knows? Maybe next time we can welcome a female mayor,” Lewis said.

As he takes office, Edmondson said there are a few things on his list he wants to get started on.

“The next thing for me is making sure the streets are safe, making sure that we have affordable housing and great jobs,” Edmondson said. “We’ve got to do something about our streets because we had one street that caved in this morning from the storm. We want to sure the transportation is good for the city and make sure that we establish something safe for our people.”