Why A GA Mayor Rejected A Black Candidate — And A City Councilman Backed Her Up

Erik S. Lesser/Hulton Archive

Mayor Theresa Kenerly of Hoschton, Georgia — a nearly all-white suburb of Atlanta — rejected a candidate, Keith Henry, for city administrator because he’s black and she thought “the city isn’t ready for this,” according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 

Hoschton City Councilman Jim Cleveland added his racist views to the chorus.

“I don’t know how they would take it if we selected a black administrator. She might have been right,” he said.

He added some background on his philosophy.

“I’m a Christian and my Christian beliefs are you don’t do interracial marriage. That’s the way I was brought up and that’s the way I believe,” he said. “I have black friends, I hired black people. But when it comes to all this stuff you see on TV, when you see blacks and whites together, it makes my blood boil because that’s just not the way a Christian is supposed to live.”

Kenerly made her comment during a private council session, and two councilwomen conveyed it to the city attorney.

Henry was depressingly unsurprised.

“It comes with the territory,” he said. “If you live in America as a minority you can’t be naïve that it is the reality that you face.”

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