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William Burney and John Jenkins were, respectively, mayors of Augusta and Lewiston. While this in itself is not unusual, the fact that they were African-American city leaders in a state where African-Americans make up less than one percent of the population is quite distinctive. Burney was elected mayor of Augusta in 1988, and Jenkins mayor of Lewiston in 1993. The article discusses their childhood and teenage years, their coming of age in college, and their early careers in the private sector. It suggests that these formative experiences, particularly their religious upbringing and their relation to white peers, was important in to their political success. Elwood Watson is assistant professor of American history and assistant director of the University Honors Program at East Tennessee State University. His work on the black experience in America has appeared in Perspectives: The Newsletter of the AHA; The Journal Of Black Studies, The Journal Of Religious Thought, USA Magazine, and in other publications. He received a Ph.D. in American history from the University of Maine in 1999