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Cavalier Johnson Makes History as the First Black Mayor of Milwaukee

Photo Credit: Angela Peterson / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

For the first time in the 176-year history of Milwaukee, a Black man will be mayor. With a decisive 72% of the vote, Cavalier Johnson won the special mayoral election. This comes after Johnson served as mayor incumbent for months after the previous mayor, Tom Barrett, accepted the position of US ambassador to Luxembourg back in August.

The weight of this moment isn't lost on Johnson in the least. In an interview shortly after his victory, he described a young boy from the area he grew up in.

"Last night, at my victory party one of the first people I spoke to was a 9-year-old Black boy. A 9-year-old kid who is growing up in the same neighborhood I grew up in. I happened to see him at Church at Holy Redeemer this past Sunday, and he begged his grandmother to bring him down to the victory party because he wanted to be a part of that. Now, that little boy who's growing up in the most depressed, challenged neighborhoods in Milwaukee, he can see that there's a space for him too," Johnson shared.

Photo Credit: Office of Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson

As mayor, he plans to help transform these rough areas in his city. Though he has yet to disclose any specific actions, he intends to lead with the philosophy that improving the lives of those at the bottom will lead to prosperity for all.

"When you lift the tide for those challenged neighborhoods, the ones I spent my time growing up in, then you lift the tide for everybody."

And he only has two years to lift that tide. Instead of a full four years, Johnson will be completing the term Barrett began back in 2020. The new mayor will have to prove to the people of Milwaukee that he's worth reelecting by 2024. However, the mayor-elect of Milwaukee is more than ready for the challenge.

"It's [like] the first Smackdown after Wrestle Mania," he stated. "I'm ready. I'll be there."


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