On this day in history, September 15, 1964, Reverend K.L. Buford and Dr. Stanley Smith were elected to the Tuskegee City Council and became the first Black elected officials in Alabama.
With the efforts of a strong local organization, the Tuskegee Civic Association (TCA), and leader, Charles Gomillion, a federal judge ordered white officials to make positive efforts to register African American voters. Combined with local registration efforts, the ruling opened Tuskegee and Macon County to “a great concentration of assertive Negroes entirely qualified under the laws of Alabama to vote.”
The political framework for the franchise in Macon County came from Tuskegee’s civil rights leadership, particularly the Macon County Democratic Club, an organization formed by Gomillion and the TCA to help support African American political candidates in local elections. In the 1950s and early 1960s, the group struggled to make headway against blatant discrimination, but by 1964 a growing black voting majority in Macon County, combined with a strong minority in Tuskegee city, gave Gomillion’s club new hope.