Jack Ellis: A Black History Salute

February 4, 2015 0 By Michael
Harold Michael Harvey and Mayor Jack Ellis

Harold Michael Harvey and Mayor Jack Ellis Photo Credits: Maynard Eaton

C. Jack Ellis, today I tip my hat to you in observance of Black History Month. You inspired many with your successful run for Mayor of the City of Macon, Georgia just before the turn of the century. Your tenure in office was so successful, that the Georgia General Assembly changed the form of government by consolidating the city and the county in order to keep you from returning as Mayor of Macon.

There will never be another Mayor of Macon, Georgia. You were the next to the last one. This is quite a legacy for a skinning kid who grew up in Unionville, studied from second-hand books that had been worn-out by the  white kids at Lanier and Miller High School by the time you got your hands on them over at ole Ballard-Hudson High, and serve your country well during the Vietnam War era.

I know politics being what it is, you left office unappreciated, maligned, and misunderstood. Your every move was called into question. It is always the most difficult on the first, the pioneer, who beats back the weeds and overgrowth, cutting a clear pathway for others to follow.

President Barack Obama could have looked at your playbook before taking office as a roadmap for what he could expect in terms of the criticism and the flyspecking of his every good intention.

You weathered the storms like a true Unionville boy (And I use the term “boy” with affection). Your town may not roll out the red carpet for you, or thank you for your service; but I want you to know, that I am proud of you. I appreciate your service to our hometown. I salute you, C. Jack Ellis, the first and only Black Mayor of Macon, Georgia.

Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist, the author of Paper puzzle and Justice in the Round. He can be contacted at https://haroldmichaelharvey.com.