Cedric Glover, Shreveport, Louisiana
The town’s first Black mayor made a name for himself as a czar in the “War on Liquor” to minors, previously a major concern; public safety; and cleaning up urban blight in the place he has lived all his life. He is completing his eight-year run as mayor. “I’m about doing. I’m about engaging. I’m about the work that has to be done. I let the critics sit there in the stands and offer whatever commentary they choose to do so and will continue to go out and be engaged in the business of helping to advance the city of Shreveport.”
Ivy Ruth Taylor, San Antonio, Texas
She is the first Black mayor of the Alamo City. Moreover, she was selected by the City Council to replace Julian Castro, who left the position to join the Obama administration. Impressive and scandal-free, she twice won re-election. But she insists she will not run for another term in 2015.
Michael Hancock, Denver
The second Black mayor of this city that is only 10 percent Black traced his ancestry to Cameroon. In 2011, stories circulated that he was somehow connected to a prostitution ring, which he vehemently denied. No charges were ever filed. Hancock and former Sen. Peter Graff co-wrote the book, “Standing in the Gap: Leadership for the 21st Century.”
Alvin Brown, Jacksonville, Florida
In an upset in 2011, Brown stunned the favored Republican Party that was confident it would again gain authority over the city. Instead, Brown, 53, a resident of the city since 1981, pulled out the upset to become its first Black mayor. He overcame his name bandied about in rumors about Katrina relief funds and improper campaign donations in 2011.
Kasim Reed, Atlanta
He is the leader of one of the country’s most progressive cities, ascending from campaign manager of former Mayor Shirley Franklin to leader of the city in 2010. He mishandled the 2014 snow and ice storm aftermath by playing the blame game, but is highly regarded nationally. A longtime bachelor whose personal life has been much-chronicled in local news outlets, Reed became a husband and father this year. He almost certainly has high aspirations, including governor of Georgia.
Byron Brown, Buffalo, New York
Brown has been magician-like in helping the city’s homicide rate drop 50 percent, partly through installing cameras on street corners. He has reigned over myriad emergency relief from blizzards. Brown endured allegations of corruption in 2007 and ’08 but was never charged.
Kevin Johnson, Sacramento, California
The former NBA star, mostly with the Phoenix Suns, took charge of his hometown the same year President Barack Obama took over the White House — 2008. He won in a runoff — despite unproven claims by a woman of sexual misconduct — and then re-election. Among his biggest achievements was preventing the Sacramento Kings from moving to Seattle in a last-minute deal that made him a hero.