Former Richmond Mayor Irma Anderson has died. Anderson was the fourth elected mayor of Richmond and the first female Black mayor. She was 93.
A Richmond City Councilmember from 1993 through 2000, Anderson was the first Black woman to serve on the City Council. Anderson held a BSN from Cornell University and an MPH from the University of California Berkeley. She worked as a nurse before becoming Director of Public Health Nursing and shifting into politics.
Elected mayor in 2001, Anderson ran for re-election in 2006 and was defeated in a close race by then-council member Gayle McLaughlin.
As news of Anderson’s passing broke on social media, residents of Richmond took to social media to express their condolences and admiration for the former mayor, including County Supervisor John Gioia and former Councilmember Nat Bates.
“I’m sad to say that my friend and former Richmond Council Member and Mayor Irma Anderson has passed away,” Goia said. “Her talents and determination allowed her to break barriers and serve as Richmond’s first female African-American councilmember and first Black female Mayor. She also served as Contra Costa Health’s first Black Public Health Nursing Director and on the West Contra Costa Healthcare District Board,” Gioia said
“My sincere condolences to Ahmad and the Anderson Family in the loss of their mother, grandmother, and a great public servant and a personal friend. The Reverend and former Mayor Booker T., Irma, and our families grew up in the Easter Hill United Methodist Church where we became close friends. Irma also became a trailblazer for other African American women of color seeking elected office, including the Honorables Lesa McIntosh, Mindell Penn, and Dora Robinson. Richmond will miss her continued contributions to the city. May she now rest in peace as she joins her loved ones who has passed before her,” Bates wrote.
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