PICKENS, SC (FOX Carolina) When Fletcher Perry grew up in Pickens in the 1960s, the city looked and felt different than it does now.
He says his mother gave birth to him at their home and the South was segregated.
“There was a time during segregation that people of color were not able to go uptown and sit in a particular place and have a meal," Perry said.
He remembers attending a segregated elementary school and says train tracks divided neighborhood by what you looked like. He believes even back then, his journey began as a uniter.
“I remember going to the courthouse one day and getting the paperwork to fill it out and I took it back home and gave it to my parents and said, “I want to go Pickens Junior High School," Perry said.
He graduated from that integrated school, went to college, and served in the Army for more than 20 years.
“There was no other place that I wanted to return to, except for Pickens, South Carolina," Perry said.“I felt in my heart that I could make a difference.”
He says a neighbor encouraged him to run for city council in 2007 and he won that race. Now, he's the first African-American Mayor-Elect of Pickens, which he calls an honor.
“I’m not just the mayor for the African-American people, I’m the mayor for the whole City of Pickens," Perry said.
He says he already has a plan for his first day in office.
“I want to asses the strengths and the weaknesses of each division," Perry said.
He thanks those who believe in him and voters in Pickens have made a place for him at City Hall and in the place he's always called home.
"When we see the diversity that comes together in celebration, I think people will get the picture," he said.