Jaylen Smith, 18, becomes America’s youngest black mayor in a historic victory

He will balance his mayoral responsibilities with his studies at Arkansas State University Mid-South.

After graduating from high school, each of us has different goals. Some wish to attend an Ivy League institution, while others wish to pursue art, travel, and discover the meaning of life. The situation was different for this young man, who aspired to become a leader. Jaylen Smith, a recent graduate of Earle High School, has just become the youngest black mayor in U.S. history as a result of his diligence and perseverance. In the small Arkansas town of Earle, he defeated his opponent Nemi Matthews with 235 votes to 185.

Even though he was “confident” he would win Tuesday’s runoff election, he was surprised to learn of his victory, according to TODAY. Moreover, he acknowledged the support and assistance of his parents throughout his campaign. Smith decided to run for mayor at the beginning of his senior year after receiving encouragement from his fellow SGA members. He stated that he is aware of his victory’s historical significance.

Frank Scott Jr., the mayor of Little Rock and a person from whom Smith sought assistance as he prepared for the mayoralty, stated that Smith will be the youngest Black mayor elected in the nation. He stated, “I am thrilled for Jaylen and the entire Earle community as he becomes the youngest African American mayor ever elected in the United States. I am proud of his willingness to enter public service at such a young age and his ambitious goals for the city.”

Smith has a clear vision of what he wants to see in Earle despite his age, and he is aware that it will not occur tomorrow. He intends to rehabilitate the city by demolishing abandoned houses, making the police department available 24 hours a day, creating jobs for young people, and implementing grocery store public transportation. The lack of grocery stores in the city restricts residents’ access to food resources. He said “We had one a long time ago, but it closed. Our seniors don’t have transportation to get to and from West Memphis to get food. So it would be better to have a grocery store here in town.” 
It is gratifying to see young people participate in politics and represent a new generation that desires change. Smith told the Washington Post, “You have to start somewhere — you really do. I didn’t want to be 30 or 40 and become a mayor when I could be one right now.” 

Smith asserted that he persuaded others of his worth and leadership abilities. During his three years as president of the student government at Earle High School, he negotiated a contract with a new cafeteria vendor. Smith plans to juggle his responsibilities as mayor with his studies at Arkansas State University Mid-South. One day, he hopes to become a prosecutor.