‘Because He Is Black’ and ‘You Don’t Do Interracial Marriage’: Leaders of Nearly All-White Georgia Town Exposed

The mayor of a small Georgia town is under fire for remarks she allegedly made describing her refusal to consider a Black man as a candidate for employment as city administrator, and a city councilman sharing his racist and religious beliefs is supporting her.

Hoschton, Georgia Mayor Theresa Kenerly "told a member of the City Council she pulled the resume of Keith Henry from a packet of four finalists 'because he is black, and the city isn’t ready for this,'" she allegedly said, according to an investigation by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Kenerly reportedly made the remarks during a close-door city council meeting.

Councilwoman Hope Weeks wrote that the mayor "proceeded to tell me that the candidate was real good, but he was black and we don’t have a big black population and she just didn’t think Hoschton was ready for that."

Kenerly, in a subsequent apology, claimed she was “looking out” for the applicant, because there are not a lot of minority residents in Hoschton, a nearly all-white town of less than 2000 that is poised for large growth.

And while the mayor says she does not recall making the remarks, Councilman Jim Cleveland says he supports them.

“I understood where she was coming from,” he said. “I understand Theresa saying that, simply because we’re not Atlanta. Things are different here than they are 50 miles down the road.”

"She might have been right," he added.

Cleveland also explained his own beliefs on race, which he says are tied to his religious beliefs.

“I’m a Christian and my Christian beliefs are you don’t do interracial marriage. That’s the way I was brought up and that’s the way I believe,” he said. “I have black friends, I hired black people. But when it comes to all this stuff you see on TV, when you see blacks and whites together, it makes my blood boil because that’s just not the way a Christian is supposed to live.”



Images via City of Hoschton

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