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A historic win has led to a typical display of disrespect in the small town of Parma, Missouri.

On Tuesday, former city clerk Tyus Byrd was sworn in as mayor, making her the first Black woman to ever hold the position in the midwestern town. Unfortunately, her swearing-in was subsequently met with 80 percent of the police force resigning. Likewise, the city attorney and water treatment supervisor both quit shortly before Byrd took office.

As for why exactly they resigned, Mayor Byrd said she was unclear — noting that the resignation letters could not be found and each of their computers had been cleared. And according to outgoing Mayor Randall Ramsey, who is reportedly stepping down after 37 years, the city employees gave no prior notice. One guess what suddenly changed their minds.

One Parma resident told Nashville’s WSMV, “I think it was pretty dirty the way they all quit without giving her a chance, but I don’t think they hurt the town with quitting because who needs six police for 740 people?” Others tell the NBC News affiliate that it’s time to “get the town back to the way it was, back to the flow of business.” You know, with the apparent recent break-ins and all.

This is just another reminder that Missouri is hard at work trying to be perceived as the nation’s worst state. Somewhere Florida is feeling jealous, and in my own home state of Texas, some useless Republican in the state legislature is likely seething with bitterness after falling behind in the competition.

It’s also a reminder of what little regard some have for Black women. Tyus Byrd won an election voted on by her local community and the people who are purportedly there to service their city at the commands of their elected mayor – regardless of how Black and how much of a woman she is – opted to make this all about them. Byrd says she will find their replacements in due time, though whoever steps in their shoes won’t erase the repugnance of their respective predecessors’ prejudices.

Sadly, this is not the only story of a small town meeting racial diversity and history with stupidity. Orting, Washington is the subject of a new profile in the Washington Post over the hiring and subsequent firing of its first Black police officer. Gerry Pickens was brought in intentionally, only to find himself categorized as someone who was unmotivated in the job he was hired to perform. Pickens has since contested this and ultimately found himself unemployed and entertaining legal action against the small city.

What The Police Turning Their Back On First Black Woman Mayor Of Parma Says About Race In America’s Small Towns  was originally published on

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