It only took 145 years, but the city of Smyrna has its first African American serving on city council.
A standing room only crowd showed up to city hall Monday night to see Maryline Blackburn sworn in to the city council, with cheers, hugs and smiles all around.
“Forty-six percent of Smyrna’s population is black,” Blackburn said of the city, which was first incorporated in 1872. “This is something we can all be proud of.”
Cobb Superior Court Judge Ann Harris swore Blackburn in. The new councilwoman shed tears as she gave her oath to the city.
“I, Maryline Blackburn, do solemnly swear that I will well and truly conduct myself as Council Member of the City of Smyrna for the ensuing term, that I will faithfully enforce the charter and ordinances of the City of Smyrna to the best of my ability, without fear or favor, that I am not the holder of any unaccounted public money due the state or any political subdivision or authority thereof, and in all my actions as council member act as I believe for the best interests of the City of Smyrna,” she said, echoing Harris. “So help me God.”
Each of the other city council members present, along with longtime Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon, took their turns congratulating Blackburn on her victory and welcoming her to the seven-member council.
Blackburn takes over for Teri Anulewicz, who had served on the council since 2007 and left to embark on a successful run for Georgia state representatives. She’ll represent Ward 3, which includes downtown, for the next two years before facing re-election.
Blackburn won the seat over four other candidates, including a runoff victory over businessman Travis Lindley on Dec. 5.
Anulewicz had kind words for her successor on election night:
Maryline will do a great job. She and Travis Lindley both ran exemplary campaigns. Their positive messages were refreshing in today’s political climate. Smyrna is a special city & we’re better for having people like them who are willing to put themselves forward to serve.
— Teri Anulewicz (@tanulewicz) December 6, 2017
According to her campaign website, Blackburn is a nonprofit executive, Grammy ballot nominated artist and community activist. She is executive director of Divas with A Cause, where she partners with charitable organizations.