Patrick Braxton became mayor of the small town of Newbern, Alabama, in 2020, and he and his staff said they had one meeting in City Hall before the doors were locked.
The town is known to be racist. They even have racially segregated cemeteries.
Patrick Braxton and many members of his staff have lived in the small town all their lives.
He said since he’s been living in the town, he’s never known them to have a mayoral election.
They would just pass the mayoral duties down from father to son for generations.
56-year-old Patrick Braxton filed the proper paperwork at the county courthouse in 2020 to run for mayor.
Before Patrick’s filing, the small town had gone 60+ years without an election.
Once the legal timeline expired for anyone to run for mayor, Patrick Braxton, being the one and only candidate to properly apply for the position, was sworn in by a judge.
He appointed his city council, who said they had one meeting in city hall to try to organize things before the doors were locked.
Patrick said the former mayor gave him the keys to city hall once he became mayor as if he had no issue with it, but soon after, the doors were locked.
The keys that Patrick was given were no longer usable.
A member of the city council, who has lived in Newbern her whole life, said it’s all about race.
Can you imagine?… It’s the Town Hall and it’s locked forever.
It’s been locked for two years now.
I feel that it’s all about race. And I don’t mind saying that.
That’s what it’s about because I’ve lived here all my life.
I feel so guilty, really I do, because we have allowed this to happen to us for years and years.
We allowed it to happen.
I’ve never known a Black man… Even if it was a White man being elected mayor here in Newbern.
I’ve never known that, and we should have said something, done something, see if we could get some help from somewhere, but we didn’t.
Patrick has filed a lawsuit in federal court stating that some of his White neighbors have kept him from his job and locked him out of office.
According to the lawsuit, Patrick and his city council are also locked out of the city accounts, while the old city council is allowed to conduct regular business with the bank.
The former mayor claims that a special election where only old city council members qualified to run was held, and the old city council members kept their jobs and put him back in charge.
Patrick’s lawsuit states that they were not aware of a special election, and if it did happen, it’s no good because it took place in secret, and no notice of a special election was ever published.
The few White residents who support Mayor Patrick Braxton are scared to say anything publicly, and many of the White residents who don’t support him deny that it’s because of his race.
85% of Newbern, Alabama residents are Black. The town is approximately a mile long, with a population of 200 people.
Newbern is considered an old cotton town.
Mayor Patrick Braxton wants the state or federal court to come to town and make things right.
He said if they don’t he’s not going anywhere, and they will have a real election when his term expires.
He wants to bring a grocery store to the small town, amongst other things.
Patrick said he doesn’t want to divide the town he just wants to make the town better.
He said a White woman told him that the town wasn’t ready for a Black mayor, and he responded “They better get ready! Cause I’m here.”