Unita Blackwell was elected as the first mayor of the town of Mayersville, Mississippi in 1976, becoming the first black woman mayor in Mississippi. In April 1990, she was also elected as the first woman president of the National Conference of Black Mayors. Also in 1990, Ms. Blackwell was selected as the only woman and African-American finalist for the John F. Kennedy “Profiles in Courage” award. Ms. Blackwell is credited with founding the Mississippi Democratic Freedom Party along with Fannie Lou Hamer. In 1964, she helped organize the challenge to Mississippi's all-white delegation at the Democratic National Convention. She is also a founder and immediate past chair of the NCBM's Black Women Mayor's Caucus, is a life member of the National Council of Negro Women, former vice chair of the Mississippi Democratic Party, and a member of the executive committee of the Mississippi Municipal Association.