Steve Benjamin Elected First African American Mayor of Columbia, SC

(WASHINGTON, DC) - The NAACP congratulates Steve Benjamin, the newly elected and first African American mayor of Columbia, South Carolina. Benjamin won the April 20th runoff election with 56% of the vote.

"The NAACP sends its heartfelt congratulations to Mayor-Elect Steve Benjamin. Winning a political office is difficult as is, let alone as a black man running for mayor in a state where the confederate flag still flies and where some elected officials still believe in the Dixiecrat agenda. Mayor-Elect Benjamin's campaign theme of "One Columbia-Unity, Hope and Promise" rings true in South Carolina and across the nation - they are the tenets that will allow America to remain great," stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. "The National NAACP and the NAACP South Carolina State Conference look forward to working with Mayor Benjamin. Together we will ensure that all residents of Columbia are treated fairly and equally and that smart policies are enacted that provide the citizens of Columbia with access to a quality education and good jobs."

Steve Benjamin will replace Columbia Mayor Bob Cole, who decided last year to step down after 20 years of service. Benjamin, a father of two, led the South Carolina Department of Probation, Pardon and Parole for three years and is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and the University of South Carolina School of Law. He was also a former President of the South Carolina Youth and College Division of the NAACP.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.