Black Churches Key To Electing Black Mayor In North Charleston

Rev. Chris Collins
Rev. Chris Collins

Three Black candidates are vying for Mayor of North Charleston in the Nov. 3 general election. They are Rev. Chris Collins, John Singletary and Clifford Smith. They will face incumbent Keith Summey. According to Singletary, splitting the Black vote in the majority Black city may not be as much of a factor as some predict. 

Singletary says if North Charleston’s majority Black population of voters go to the polls Nov. 3 they can change an administration that has developed the state’s highest grossing retail sales market while ignoring Black business development. North Charleston also has the state’s highest percentage Black population among major cities with nearly 50 percent of Black residents. The city has a 38 percent white population with a growing 12 percent Hispanic population.

Summey’s 20-year administration has been maintained with only about 6,000 votes each election cycle. The city has some 53,000 registered voters with about 30,000 registered Black voters. Summey has beat off Black opposition in several elections with a highly effective campaign machine that incorporates pivotal Black church leadership in the city. But that Black church leadership also can be used to elect a Black mayor who may be more sensitive to the needs of Black citizens, Singletary says.

Singletary notes that while Black business is almost non-existent in North Charleston, a pattern of gentrification is emerging that also may displace Black residents. Residential development in the city emphasizes middle class high density units unaffordable to the city’s Black population, he said. The city’s Black residency is being methodically reduced as diversity in contract awards and employment remains minimal, he said.

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Source: Charleston Chronicle | Barney Blakeney

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