An 18-year-old college freshman is now the youngest Black mayor in U.S. history after beating out his opponent for the position in a small Arkansas town.
Jaylen Smith, a recent graduate of Earle High School, said although he was “confident” he’d win the runoff election Tuesday, he was still shocked when he received news of the victory. He will be the mayor of Earle, a town of just under 2,000 people.
“I felt so grateful! I had the craziest facial reaction when I won! It was such a blessing,” Smith told NBC News, adding that his parents are proud of him and have supported his campaign “every step of the way.”
Smith received 218 votes while his opponent, Nemi Matthews Sr., won 139, Smith said he decided to run for mayor at the start of his senior year, with the encouragement of his fellow student government association members. He said he fully understands the historic significance of his win. “It feels awesome. Generations and generations of people will read about this historical moment,” he said.
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