Memphis Mayor AC Wharton

As hundreds of Memphians packed the Minglewood Hall their spirits were high. The room was peppered with blacks and whites with gleeful smiles. On stage was an enormous sign, "One Memphis." All of a sudden a crescendo of applause began. It was followed with yells and whistles. The new mayor of Memphis was taking the stage.

Mayor AC Wharton, with his family and friends around him, spoke of a cloud free day. He presented a Memphis without strife, without division; a city of hope and promise. As his words filtered throughout the audience you could see in their eyes the weariness of years of discourse fading away.

Memphis is truly a wonderful city, one with endless possibilities. Its citizens hunger for a better day. All they ask are for leaders to step forward and selflessly and with vision… LEAD.

Wharton takes charge of a city in the midst of a war, a war between “Progressives” and “Traditionalists.” Since before Boss Crump, Memphis has been led by one form of political machine or another, always with the support of wealth businessmen in the background. It pitted blacks against whites, middle class against the poor, community against community. This worked fine for those in power. It made a few wealthier and kept the masses “in their place.”

This city and its citizens have paid a high price for this cronyism. We’ve watched as our brightest and most talented packed their bags and moved to more progressive cities. We’ve been left behind by metros such as Atlanta, and Nashville. These cities once looked upon our gleaming shore with envy, now we would be fortunate to even garner a glance.

In my bid for political office back in 2007 I saw something different. I saw business owners who were truly frightened. It was no longer control that was most important to them, it was good leadership. People believe the powers-to-be turned against Herenton because he wouldn’t play ball anymore. Nothing was further from the truth. They turned against Herenton because they didn’t believe he could successfully manage the City of Memphis through this financial crisis. Because when it’s all said and done, “a big fish in a small pond is fine, but a big fish in a mud puddle is dying.” And the big fishes were coughing out the word, change.

Mayor Wharton has an opportunity to move Memphis away from the Traditionalists who are striving to create the next political machine and join hands with Progressives who what greater community involvement, more accountability, an end to race baiting and a greater sharing of the prosperity that will come to all if we wise up.


Anonymous said...

Congrats AC! The best man won.

Anonymous said...

for all those people who got less than 50 votes what were you thinkin? you shouldnt waste people time. Sister Webb you said God was speaking to you and you was going to win big. so you was lying or you was hearing things. you need to see a doctor.

Anonymous said...


I don't totally agree with your assessment of history. Before Crump, there was a series of corrupt and inefficient mayors. Crump was the one who brought efficiency and political stability to Memphis. He had a true vision. He kicked the Klan out of Memphis (the only Southern city with no Klan presence). He gave at least some power to African Americans (think of it in a historical context). Memphis prospered and grew during his reign. The main problem was that he could not share power. As a result, most of the mayors since Crump's death have been a series of buffoons, racists, and elitists.

Wharton has the political capital, the temperament, and the intelligence to break us out of that mentality, to bring back some of the positives aspects of the Crump era but to help prepare a new generation for leadership.

So you can call me cautiously optimisitic.

Reginald Milton said...

To 8:57 A.M.

You are "cautiously optimisitic." LOL, I can't argue with that. Let's both hope for the best.


Anonymous said...

Seeing Herenton leave is good enough for me. Eighteen years of this man was eighteen years too much.

Anonymous said...

I wish the best to AC and hope Myron returns to the City Council Chairmanship with even more energy and enthusiasm than before he assumed the Mayor Pro Tem. He did a fine job of leading the city out of the darkness and into the sunshine! I hope AC continues along that path.

Myron is a true leader and a fine person.