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Tom Yarborough (July 23, 1895 – March 19, 1969) was the first black mayor in California


Thomas R. Yarborough was born in Arkansas (although some sources cite Mississippi) on July 23, 1895.

He made his way to California as a handyman for the evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson. He eventually settled in the small town of Lake Elsinore, which is located in Riverside County.

Yarborough opened an upholstery shop in the downtown area and invested in real estate. In 1948, he successfully ran for a seat on the City Council. He was defeated in 1956, but three years later was appointed to fill a vacancy.

In 1966, Yarborough was elected the town's mayor, becoming the first African-American in California to do so.

He died in an automobile accident on Highway 71 in Riverside County on March 19, 1969. He was survived by his widow Katherine and eight children.

A parcel of land in the downtown area that Yarborough donated to Lake Elsinore was converted into a small park and named after him.

Preceded by
Mayor of Lake Elsinore, California
Succeeded by


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