Ferguson Elects Ella Jones as Its First Black Mayor

Ella Jones will be Ferguson's new mayor. - VIA CITY OF FERGUSON
Ella Jones will be Ferguson's new mayor.

Ella Jones, a change agent in the remaking of Ferguson politics, was elected Tuesday night as the city's mayor.

Jones defeated fellow Councilwoman Heather Robinett by 138 votes.

The former working chemist and Mary Kay sales director has been part of a new wave of politicians who moved into government office following the 2014 killing of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer. She was elected to the city council in 2015 along with Wesley Bell, taking seats on a six-member council that previously had just one black member.

Bell went on in 2018 to oust longtime St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch, who had become a symbol of all that was wrong with a justice system stacked against African Americans. And now Jones has won a historic election, becoming the first woman and first African American voted into the mayor's job.

Current Mayor James Knowles, who helmed the city during the world-changing protests that followed Brown's death, defeated Jones three years ago to win re-election. But he couldn't run this time because of term limits.

Jones has lived in Ferguson for more than 40 years. She graduated from the University of Missouri-St. Louis with a bachelor's in chemistry before working at Washington University School of Medicine and KV Pharmaceutical Company. She was a Mary Kay sales director for 30 years before resigning to focus on community service full time. She is also a pastor in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

"People from the seniors to the young people understand that my goal is for us to be one — for us to work together,” Jones told St. Louis Public Radio.

Editor's note: Vote totals in this story were updated after publication.

We welcome tips and feedback. Email the author at [email protected] or follow on Twitter at @DoyleMurphy.
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