18-year-old becomes youngest Black mayor in America

The recent high school graduate is the newly elected mayor of the city of Earle, Arkansas.

Arkansas native Jaylen Smith has made history as the youngest Black mayor ever to be elected in the country, FOX13 reports. 

Smith, 18, is the new mayor of the city of Earle after receiving 218 votes in a runoff election against opponent Nemi Matthews Sr., the city’s longtime street and sanitation superintendent who obtained 139 votes, according to election results reported by FOX13. The town’s population is just under 2,000 people (roughly 1,800).

Days before Tuesday’s election, Matthews explained to Cincinnati’s WKRC that he and Smith share a close bond and their families are acquaintances.

“No animosity, anything, far as me and Jaylen are concerned,” Matthews stated. “Everything has been cordial. If I can help him do anything, I’ll do it, and likewise with him.”

Smith, who recently graduated from high school, hit up Facebook to celebrate following his win Tuesday night. The teenager thanked supporters “for stepping up getting people to the polls,” he wrote and noted that “It’s Time to Build a Better Chapter of Earle, Arkansas.”

Speaking to NBC News following his win, Smith said he “had the craziest facial reaction when I won!”

“It was such a blessing,” he continued.

The young politician told FOX13 last month that if he’s elected mayor, his primary goal is to improve “public safety” in the city. 

“Secondly, tear down abandoned houses … transportation here for the community, bring a grocery store here,” he said.

“You’re never too young to want to make a difference in your community,” Smith told WKRC in November.

Smith, a student at Arkansas State University Mid-South, has a learning disability, The Hill reports, but said it “does not take away from what I am able to do.”

“In fact, it motivates me more to achieve greatness,” Smith added.

“When somebody tells me ‘no,’ I don’t stop just because someone tells me ‘no.’ There’s always someone waiting to tell you ‘yes,’” said Smith via FOX13.

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