Knoxville City Councilman Daniel Brown (District 6) made history when he became the city's first African-American mayor on January 10, 2011.
Brown's fellow council members elected him to serve as interim Mayor when former Mayor Bill Haslam resigned to become the Governor of Tennessee.
Brown served as Interim Mayor from January 10, 2011, to December 17, 2011.
While Brown was the first African American in Knoxville's top spot, African-Americans have been engaged in local politics for decades.
According to the city's website, the first African-American aldermen were elected shortly after the Civil War; Isaac Gammon and David Brown.
In the 20th century, a local African-American newspaper held an election for a "Bronze Mayor" who would voice the concerns of the African- American community. James Henry Presnell, a respected physician, won the contest "by more than 2,800 votes over his nearest rival," according to the city's website.
The city of Knoxville has a webpage devoted to Black History month. You can read more about the men and women who paved the way for this modern generation on their website.