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Celebrating Black History Month: Ellen W. Craig-Jones

Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans. It is a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. Ohio’s history is full of Black men and women who have helped shape our country. One such person is Ellen Walker Craig-Jones, the first African-American woman to be elected mayor of a United States municipality.

Ellen W. Craig

Ellen Walker Craig-Jones


Ellen Walker Craig-Jones (1906 – 2000)

  • She was born on June 5, 1906, in Franklin County, Ohio.
  • She dedicated her life to improving conditions in her hometown of Urbancrest.
    • Craig-Jones founded or was a member of the Urbancrest Volunteer Civic Improvement Association, the Buckeye Boys Ranch and the Urbancrest Chapter of the Blue Star Mothers of America.
    • She was also actively involved with the Urbancrest Youth Council, the Urbancrest Community Recreation Club and the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission.
  • She became a member of the Urbancrest Village Council in 1960.
  •  In 1971, Craig-Jones was elected mayor of Urbancrest.
    • She became the first African American woman to be elected mayor by popular vote.
    • She became the first African-American woman to be elected mayor of a municipality in the United States.
  •  Craig-Jones focused on modernizing the community.
    • During her administration, Urbancrest received a three million dollar housing project for the town’s poorer citizens.
    • Craig-Jones also improved street lighting, installed signage and repaired Urbancrest’s streets.
  • She remained in office until 1975.

Source: Ohio History Central