Patrick Braxton, a Black man who says he was elected mayor of an Alabama town, alleges that the town’s white leaders have prevented him from taking office.
Braxton 57 and several other plaintiffs — James Ballard, Barbara Patrick, Janice Quarles and Wanda Scott — have filed a lawsuit against the city council of Newbern. The plaintiffs argue that Newbern’s white residents “refused to accept” the results of a 2020 election and that Haywood “Woody” Stokes III, Newbern’s white former mayor, plotted with his council and other government officials to establish himself as mayor illegally.
“Defendants did not inform any of the public or citizens of the City of the election,” the lawsuit says. “In fact, the Defendants intentionally concealed the deadlines so that they could claim they were the only candidates for Mayor and City Councilman to file candidacy papers.”
The town is 85% Black, and 29% of the Black population lives below the poverty line. Only one Black person has ever served on the town council. According to a report from Capital B News, the town was incorporated in 1854 and became known as a farm town.
Braxton says that after winning the election, county probate Judge Arthur Crawford informed him that no one had qualified or been elected to town council positions and that Braxton could appoint council members. Braxton says he “asked both Black and White residents to serve, but no White residents agreed to join his council.” The lawsuit also alleged that the People’s Bank of Greensboro and Lynn Theibe, the local postmaster, conspired to change the locks at Town Hall until official documents were removed and hidden from him.
Braxton explained to the outlet why the town’s economy continues to plummet.
“They want to know why Black [people] don’t shop with them. You don’t have nothin’ the Black [people] want or need,” he explained. “No gasoline. … They used to sell country-time bacon and cheese and souse meat. They stopped selling that because they say they didn’t like how it feel on their hands when they cuttin’ the meat.”
Woody insists Braxton’s election was a “mistake” and needed to be corrected via a new election.