Spotlight on Black History Trailblazers by Chandler Council Member



Chandler Vice Mayor O.D. Harris has honored the contributions of the black community. Harris mentioned N.J. Harris, the first African American resident of Chandler and owner of the historic Bar-B-Q Pit, Rev. Willie Arbuckle, one of the first black students from Chandler High School, and Zora Folley, the first black council member. Chandler is holding a series of Black History Month events including speeches, a mental health panel, a fashion show, movie screenings, art projects, and a Family Fun Night.

Chandler Recognizes Black History Month

As Black History Month unfolds, we celebrate the significant contributions and resilience of the Black community that forms an integral part of our nation’s rich history. Unveiling the stories of countless trailblazers, we recognize their challenges and victories against overwhelming odds.

The city of Chandler recently marked the influential life of Dr. Martin Luther King and admired the accomplishments of residents dedicated to human and civil rights. We honor remarkable individuals who have helped shape Chandler’s history. This includes N.J. Harris, the first African American residing in Chandler, owner of the historic Bar-B-Q Pit, Rev. Willie Arbuckle, one of the first Black graduates from Chandler High School, Zora Folley, the inaugural Black council member on City Council, and the legendary Coy Payne, Chandler’s and Arizona’s first Black mayor.

Today, I am privileged to serve as vice mayor, being the first Black individual in this position in nearly two decades. Across our state and nation, we see exceptional Black accomplishment in domains such as technology, entertainment, science, and politics. Celebrating these achievements inspires future generations to chase their dreams.

Black History Month sheds light on the accomplishments of contemporary Black leaders and influencers. My recent Power Conversations episode featured discussions with Miss Juneteenth Sascha Reveron and Civil Rights Attorney Benjamin Taylor, president of the Arizona State Bar Association.

This month is an invitation to explore the history, culture, and experience of the Black community with a host of events lined up at Chandler Center for the Arts, Chandler Public Library, and Chandler-Gilbert Community College. You can get involved in inspiring speaker sessions, a mental health panel, a fashion show, and several movie screenings. A range of art projects and a Family Fun Night are in store.

For event details, visit

Supporting local non-profits during Black History Month is invaluable. South Chandler Self-Help Foundation is hosting the Kings and Queens Unbreakable event at Chandler Center for the Arts, and Chandler Men of Action is organizing their 12th Annual Awards Banquet at Chandler-Gilbert Community College.

In promoting the legacy of Black individuals, fostering positive change, and creating awareness and education, we aim to build a world that celebrates diversity, equity, and inclusion every day, setting an example for our future generations.

Join in the Black History Month celebrations!

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