Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms… Descendant of Slaves, Mother, Mayor, Champion of Peace

Keisha Lance

Since 2018, Keisha Lance Bottoms has served as the mayor of Atlanta, but it wasn’t until two weeks ago that she was catapulted into the national spotlight—thanks to a speech that lasted a little more than four minutes.

On May 29, as some of Atlanta’s peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd turned violent, Bottoms delivered an impassioned—and completely unscripted—speech in which she spoke as both a mayor, and a mother.

“When you burn down this city, you’re burning down our community,” she said. “If you want change in America, go and register to vote. Show up at the polls on June 9th. Do it in November. That is the change we need in this country.” She later added: “I am a mother to four Black children in America, one of whom is 18 years old. And when I saw the murder of George Floyd, I hurt like a mother would hurt.”
That extraordinary moment of realness has resulted in some significant vice presidential candidate speculation.

For the record, Bottoms has not confirmed if she is being vetted.

Thanks to documents from the mid-19th century, Bottoms can trace her family’s history to a plantation near Crawfordville, Georgia, where her grandmother’s grandparents were slaves. It is believed that Bottoms’s great-great grandfather, Shephard Peek, may have served in the state legislature during Reconstruction.

“I’ve seen the slave registry. One-thousand-five-hundred dollars was his value,” she told Vogue earlier this month. “I have been thinking of him a lot and, the anger and the pain and humiliation and all the things that must have been a part of being enslaved, and how was he able to put that all aside and move beyond? It had to have been a belief that there was something better for tomorrow and something better for his children’s children.”

How proud her ancestors would be to see this brave 50 year old community leader, mayor and mother as she supports, leads and protects the city she loves.

You’ve got our vote, Keisha! ■