WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — The first elected African-American mayor of West Memphis, Leo Chitman, has died.
According to a Facebook post, Chitman served as mayor from 1982-86. During his time in office, the city said he worked to heal racial divides and move West Memphis forward.
"It was Chitman's historic victory that paved the way for other African-American leaders to be elected citywide, including current mayor Marco McClendon," the city wrote.
“During my first few days in office, Mayor Chitman stopped by City Hall to offer words of congratulations, encouragement, and counsel. Because of his trailblazing journey, I was able to go farther than I ever could have dreamed or envisioned,” said Mayor McClendon. "The heartfelt prayers of a city grateful for his service go out to the Chitman family during your time of loss and bereavement."