UK: Jamaica-Born Sandra Samuels Becomes First Black Mayor of Wolverhampton

Sandra Samuels
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For the first time in nearly 200 years, Jamaica-born Sandra Samuels has become the first Black person to be appointed Mayor of Wolverhampton, United Kingdom.

With her new role, she also becomes the 11th woman to be elected Mayor of the city, which is home to almost 300,000 people.

Samuels said becoming Mayor will be her life’s greatest honor.

“Becoming Mayor of the City of Wolverhampton will be my life’s greatest honour and I am proud beyond words that my fellow city councilors are due to make me the first person of African Caribbean heritage in 200 years to hold this most prestigious role.

It is my sincere hope that wearing the Mayoral ceremonial chains of office of our great city as a proud black lady will inspire others from underrepresented groups to believe in themselves and know that anything is possible,” she said upon being confirmed as Mayor.

Samuels was born in Jamaica and raised by her grandparents. Her mother and father had migrated to the UK from Jamaica in 1959 in search of a better life. At the age of ten, Sandra, along with her two sisters Marcia and Lavern, migrated to the UK to join her parents.

And once settled in the country, she attended junior school followed by senior school in Bushbury – at Northicote – before progressing on to Wulfrun College, now Wolverhampton College, and then university, studying nursing.

Samuels spent 40 years working as a nurse, theatre sister and manager. She has also been a trade union official, school governor, community activist and volunteer.

In May 1998, she joined the Labour party – becoming local secretary of the branch within six months and a parliamentary candidate within 12 months. She served as councilor before being elected Mayor.

In 2015, she was awarded the Order of the British Empire medal by the Queen for services to local government and politics.

Mayor Samuels says the theme for her year in office will be ‘Dare to Dream’.

“The city will have my unwavering commitment as Mayor, there is so much to look forward to with Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations and Wolverhampton’s participation as a venue in the Commonwealth Games.

I’m so looking forward to being a hard-working ambassador for the people of this city, getting out and meeting them and celebrating the rich tapestry of our diverse communities,” she said.

Sandra Samuels’ consort during her Mayoral year will be her husband of 40 years Karl Samuels.

She will be raising money throughout the year for her three chosen charities which are the Wolverhampton African Caribbean Community Initiative (ACCI) which provides mental health and suicide prevention services, Compton Care which provides palliative care and Wolverhampton Sickle Cell Care and Activity Centre which provides services for people with the genetic blood disorder.

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