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Meet the youngest Black mayor in the US: 'I believe I was chosen for a time such as this'

Smith wants to become the President of the United States but plans to be in Earle as long as he is needed.

Meet the youngest Black mayor in the US: 'I believe I was chosen for a time such as this'
Cover Image Source: Facebook | Jaylen Smith

It is fascinating to know that Jaylen Smith was only 18 years old when he was elected to be the mayor of Earle, Arkansas, last December and was sworn in on New Year's Day just before his 19th birthday. He is the country's youngest Black mayor who leads a community of about 1800 people, according to Good Morning America. "God made it possible for me," said Smith. "I believe I was chosen for a time such as this." Smith said that his opponent, Nemi Matthews Sr. had been working for the city for more than 40 years and had 139 votes. On the other hand, Smith won with 218 votes.



 

 

Smith feels "amazing" about the historic elections. "Being the [youngest] Black/African American mayor in the nation ... it's kind of eye-catching," Smith said. "A lot of people are shocked -- like, 'this young guy can do it.'" He always dreamt of doing something in this respect, being inspired by people like Martin Luther King Jr. and President Barack Obama. He was part of many organizations while growing up. Moreover, in his last two years at Earle High School, he had three presidential positions. According to him, his presidency in the high school's Student Government Association gave him the tools needed to make a bigger impact in his community, as reported by GMA.

"I was an advocate for the change of the community, the betterment of the community, and what our future looks like. And the people saw that I had the passion and the dedication to move within this community because, within that organization, I made a big impact in my school," he said. After finishing high school, Smith did not leave his community like others. "So, I was like, No. I want to make a difference now before I move on to the next phase of my life, and that's what kind of bridges the gap between me as a mayor," said Smith.



 

 

Smith aims to bridge the gap between older city officials and the younger generation. And with this position as a leader, he wants to inspire younger people to hold political positions. "I'm hoping with my success, we can help not only me but help other young people, not only my community but around the nation to step out there on faith to get in those roles. Regardless of what people tell you, you still can make a difference," Smith said. He was diagnosed with a particular learning disability in first grade. Despite that, he still looks forward to attending Arkansas State University Mid-South online, studying for his general education degree. The online classes will allow him to attend to his mayoral duties without getting overwhelmed.

Smith wants to make rural Earle the town that it has the capacity to become. "If I have to stay, if I have to go to the White House or do whatever I got to do, I will do whatever it takes to make sure Earle, Arkansas, has reached its full potential," said Smith. No one in his family is "into politics," but was supportive of his decision to run for the elections. In his family, he has a twin brother, Jayden, and two older brothers, Alex Jr. and Davell. He currently lives with his mother, Sonya Perkins.



 

 

He believes that the Earle community is also his family. "This town means the world to me. I grew up here, I graduated here, I went to school, I've lived here for 19 years … and this community means a lot because I want to make a difference," Smith said. His goal in life is to become the president of the United States but plans to be in Earle as he is needed before running for the state legislature, governor and eventually a seat in the U.S. Congress.



 

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