Tools

Black History Month: Willie Spencer, First African-American Mayor of Hardeman County

By Erica Williams
By ewilliams@wbbjtv.com

BOLIVAR, Tenn- On a shelf in his office is a photo of President Obama; and just like the first black President, Hardeman County Mayor Willie Spencer is also making history.

"I still don't see myself as a politician," said Spencer. "I see myself as a servant of the people."

In 2006, Spencer became the first African American to be elected as Mayor in Hardeman County.

"Being a part of history feels great and that's because other people celebrate my achievement."

Spencer grew up in Hardeman County working on his family farm. He said his mother always taught him the importance of education.

"My mom told me, if you don't want to work on the farm for the rest of your life, you need to go get a good education."

Spencer went on to attend Lane College. After graduating, he took a job with Proctor and Gamble. He stayed with the company for more than 27 years, working in management before retiring. He said he never had a desire to get into politics, only an interest in helping people.

"I believe in pulling people through and not just travel this path alone because I know I didn't get here by myself," said Spencer.

Spencer said he hopes his legacy will be one of a servant who was honest and full of integrity.