4. Clarence H. Du Burns, Politician
Baltimore native Clarence H. Du Burns (1918 – 2003) served as the city’s first African American mayor, opening up a door of possibilities for four Black Baltimore city mayors that later followed. Prior to becoming mayor, he served as a councilman from the 2nd District for 17 years, later becoming the council president and afterwards, assuming the position of mayor when William Donald Schaefer left to be Maryland’s governor. His role as mayor only lasted 11 months as he lost the 1987 mayoral primary in a close call to State’s Attorney Kurt L. Schmoke, but he’s known for his urban affairs initiatives that spanned his political careers from the bottom up: He started as a precinct worker, got promoted to ward boss, and first won election to the City Council in 1971.