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Honoring the Life of Mayor Chester L. Jenkins

WHEREAS, Chester L. Jenkins was the first African-American to be elected mayor of the City of Durham in 1981, after having served on the Durham City Council for eight years; and


WHEREAS, he promoted the social advancement of and equal rights for all individuals regardless of color or gender by directing the city's Human Relations Department, serving on the Durham City Council Minority and Women Business Enterprise Committee (and numerous other Council committees) and achieving passage of the local Fair Housing Ordinance and the Minority and Women Business Enterprise Ordinance; and


WHEREAS, he promoted preservation of the earth and its natural resources, achieving passage of the Environmental Protection Ordinance and the Watershed Protection Ordinance and instituting a nationally recognized recycling program in the city: and


WHEREAS, he promoted education as the gateway to opportunity. He graduated from Durham City Schools, Croft Business College and Fort Lauderdale University, received his MBA from North Carolina Central University, and taught in the Durham Public School System; and


WHEREAS, his successful term as Mayor — which included achieving more than a quarter of a billion dollars in funds for the revitalization of the city's downtown, the local government's acquisition of and enhancement of the public bus system, and retention of the city's professional baseball team — contributed to the rise of Raleigh-Durham as the fastest growing metropolitan area in the nation; and


WHEREAS, he defended this nation's freedom, serving in the United States Air Force from 1956 to 1960; and


WHEREAS, all national politics are ultimately derived from and manifests its most evident consequences at the local level; and


WHEREAS, his successful tenure as an African-American elected official laid the foundation for successful campaigns of African-American politicians in later generations, with North Carolina playing a key role in the election of the nation's first African-American president in 2008; and


WHEREAS, he remained a loyal member of the NAACP, and numerous other public service and civic organizations, until his death on July 14, 2009.


THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP formally acknowledges, celebrates, and honors the life and contributions of Chester L. Jenkins,