Abe Amoros, president of the York City Little League Board of Directors, is seen during groundbreaking ceremonies in 2005 for two regulation Little League fields at York’s Allen Park. Amoros recently assumed temporary executive director duties for the state Democratic Party. Background posts: Delma Rivera, ‘Legacies,’ Part II, York Spanish Council organized 33 years ago and Civil rights heroes stand out at Bradley exhibit.
Gov. Ed Rendell made York resident Abe Amoros an offer he could not refuse.
Would Amoros temporarily take over for the state Democratic Party’s regular executive director, who is on leave to head Hillary Clinton’s campaign in Pennsylvania?
Amoros’ affirmative answer propelled him to the water’s edge facing the political storm that is starting to wash across Pennsylvania as Clinton and Barack Obama vie for Dem votes… .
But Amoros, on the state Democratic Party staff since 2005, already has a key local milestone on his growing resume.
He was elected to York City Council in 1991, the first Latino to be so honored. In fact, Amoros appears to have been the first Latino to be elected to any public office in the York area.
York County women and minorities started entering appointed and elected political office in noticeable numbers after 1970.
That date coincides with the York-area’s painful efforts to recover from the race riots of 1968-69.
Good people can disagree on whether the riots and subsequent attempts at recovery exerted a cause-and-effect result that leveraged women and people of color into office and other high community positions.
Before 1970, such promotions were scarce – and some maintain they still are.
Jane Alexander was one exception, becoming York County’s first female state rep in 1964.
Here is a sampling of other female and minority pioneers assuming important community positions since the late 1960s:
York City School District
First Latino school board president: Jeanette Torres
First Latino school board member: Vilma Garcia-Jones
First Latino school superintendent: Carlos Lopez
First black school board member: W. Russell Chapman.
First black female school board member: Doris Sweeney
First black school board president: Douglas Smallwood
First black school superintendent: Frederick D. Holliday
First black female superintendent: Tresa Diggs
First black homecoming queen, William Penn High School: Linda Woodward
First appointed female mayor of York: Jessie M. Gross
First female candidate for York mayor (1973 Dem primary): Genevieve Ray
First elected female mayor of York: Elizabeth Marshall
First black chief of police: Thomas Chatman
First black male member of city council: Roy Borom
First black female member of city council: Carol Hill-Evans
First black candidate for mayor: Ray Crenshaw
First black female candidate for mayor: C. Kim Bracey
First black city controller: Charles B. Walker
First Latino York City Council member: Abe Amoros
First black elected York County row officer: Mattie Chapman, prothonotary
First female county commissioner: Lorraine Hovis
First female York County Common Pleas Court judge: Sheryl Dorney
First black York County Common Pleas Court judge candidate: Chuck Patterson
First female state representative: Jane Alexander, 1964
Other community positions
First black member, York College board: Bobby Simpson
First black member, York County Chamber of Commerce Board: Bobby Simpson
First black chairman, York County Chamber of Commerce: Vernon Bracey
First black member, Lafayette Club: Vernon Bracey
First black member, Country Club of York: George Ruffin
First black nurse, Memorial Hospital: Mary E. White
First black York Hospital board member: Joseph Douglas
First black Wellspan board member: Daniel Elby
First female member, York County Bar: Mary Jane Yohe (1949)
(Sources for information about Mattie Chapman and the “firsts” above: James McClure’s “Never to be Forgotten,” “Almost Forgotten,” various newspaper accounts. Also, Georg Sheets’ “Lawyers and Leaders.”)