First African American Mayor
In 2008 the United States of America elected its first African-American president. Almost a decade into the twenty-first century and the American people were just beginning to make the impossible possible for the minority demographic of Americans but also for the rest of the nation. A nation with a history tainted with by the slave industry.
But America has also had plenty of moments within that history that has given many people hope for a better future with opportunity for others. One of these moments was with the election of the nation’s first African-American Mayor, Pierre Caliste Landry.
Pierre was born in 1841 and raised like most African-Americans at that time, on a slave plantation that specialized in sugar. He was auctioned off at the young age of 13th to a large plantation and remained there until he was able to leave for Donaldsville just when the period of reconstruction was beginning.
It’s very clear that much of his upbringing was related to scripture and faith, which would eventually lead to him being influenced by public speaking and a position in the Louisiana State senate.
Pierre’s political involvement was long lived as he became a strong figure of the community and eventually becoming the first African-American mayor of Donaldsville, LA and a member of the Republican party, from which he established a black caucus.
As he progressed he established institutions and organizations that are still here today such as:
- St. Peter's Methodist Episcopal Church
- New Orleans University
Pierre enjoyed the prosperity of serving in public office for his community, even becoming an elder statesman and a pastor for his own established church.
As the first African-American mayor of a U.S. city, Pierre Caliste was able to establish a legacy for himself and all African-Americans, to get a foothold as proof that change can happen. Here he was able to take advantage of changing times leading up to the civil rights act.
Pierre Caliste Landry pioneered those first steps when the climate was still tense and while it continued to be that way until the mid sixties, Landry fought his way through tropes and stigma to become a part of the system that could only change by internal influence, creating Louisiana’s rich history as well as making it more vibrant with his involvement. Now, when visiting the state of Louisiana, everyone can remember how much of a part he played in what that great state is today.