Muskogee mayor writing Black history of his own while working to improve city

MUSKOGEE, Okla. — The mayor of Muskogee is making Black history of his own.

Mayor Marlon Coleman is the first Black mayor in the city’s history.

“What I need to be able to do is position myself in a way that young people know that I may be the first but I don’t have to be the last,” Coleman told FOX23′s Naomi Keitt.

Coleman says he was elected in the summer of 2020 at the height of George Floyd and racial tension in several cities across the country. He says it both humbles and encourages him as he works to make Muskogee a place where people can work, stay and play.

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Coleman has called Muskogee home for the last decade.

While the position of mayor isn’t his first public office, he served on the city council in Muskogee for six years, it’s brought him the most notoriety.

“I want them to know that what we did June 30, 2020, was not just a place marker or a bookmark in a history book or something that you can just google,” Coleman says.

“I don’t want to just be on a list of firsts. I want to make sure we make Muskogee first in everything that we do.”

FOX23 was there when he was sworn into office in the summer of 2020.

Coleman says he was only expecting a handful of people during the ceremony and was shocked to see dozens of people crowded outside the Muskogee Civic Center.

“I was in awe by that turnout and I feel even more obligated to be certain that those people are not disappointed,” he says.

“That it’s not just a history-making moment.”

In the last several months, the mayor says he’s proud of the work the city has done to fix up 100 miles of residential streets that will happen over the next six years, and a big bond issue for the school district bringing much-needed upgrades.

Coleman says during his time in office, his administration has “done a lot in terms of just motivating people to know that they can be great, that they can be successful, that they don’t have to settle for less.”

As he reflects on his place in the history books, Mayor Coleman wants people, especially children, to know the sky’s the limit.

“Black History Month is about making your own history,” Coleman says.

“It’s not about just reading about history. It’s about making your own history and you make your mark on history by being committed to your community, to volunteer, to serve, to work.”

See more stories of Black History in the Making here.