IN.gov - Skip Navigation

Note: This message is displayed if (1) your browser is not standards-compliant or (2) you have you disabled CSS. Read our Policies for more information.

Indiana Civil Rights Commission

ICRC > Newsroom > Gary celebrates Indiana's first black mayor Gary celebrates Indiana's first black mayor

(Gary, Indiana) – Karen Freeman-Wilson was elected the first Black female mayor in Indiana on Tuesday night.

“It’s great to make history,” the Gary attorney said just before the celebration began at the Genesis Convention Center in Gary for hundreds of her supporters.

Freeman-Wilson, a Gary native, received a law degree in 1985 from Harvard University. Ebony magazine named her one of the country’s 50 leaders of the future for the Black community a year after then-Gov. Evan Bayh named her director of the Indiana Civil Rights Commission, the first of many of her public responsibilities involving social and racial equality.

She became Gary city judge in 1994 and Indiana attorney general in 2000. She ran unsuccessfully for Gary mayor in 2003 and 2007.

She now must confront a city government hobbled by high tax rates, declining tax revenues and the need to provide services to a population in which a significant number of people are below the poverty line and unemployed.

Special to the NNPA from the Florida Sentinel Bulletin .