Kwame Kilpatrick Biography
Kwame Kilpatrick was the youngest African-American person to ever be elected as mayor of Detroit. Born Kwame Malik Kilpatrick to US Representative Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick and Bernard Kilpatrick, Kwame knew by the fifth grade that in future he would be elected as a mayor.
His role models were his parents as politics ran in his blood. When Kwame was in the fifth grade, his mother, Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick had been in office as a state representative for Detroit’s 9th district.
He attended Pelham Middle School and Cass Technical high School. Kilpatrick graduated with honors after attending college at Florida A and M University (FAMU). He was also certified as a teacher at FAMU. In 1992, he received his Bachelors of Science degree in political science.
While teaching at Marcus Garvey Academy, Kilpatrick was more than a teacher as he actively took part as a basketball coach and played the important role of a mentor for students. For four years he continued in the academy until he was given an opportunity to enter politics. Following his mother’s decision to make a transition from State Representative to U.S. Senate in 1995, Kwame was the obvious successor for the state seat. In 1996, Kwame won the seat vacated by his mother.
In 2000, an opportunity arose to run for state house minority leader and Kwame readily accepted to contest this position. There were concerns and criticisms about the decision because of his young age. Finally, in 2001, he won the position by becoming the first African-American to be chosen as the minority leader and also the youngest person (he was 30 at that time) to hold that position.
On November 6, 2001, after much struggle, Kilpatrick won the election and was sworn in as mayor of Detroit on January 4, 2002.