Dr. Albert H. Wheeler (b. 1915, d. April 4, 1994) served from April 1975 to April 1977 as the first (and still only) black Mayor of Ann Arbor. The University of Michigan's first black tenured professor, Wheeler taught and researched in the microbiology and immunology department from 1952-1981 and was active in various roles at the school district, City, and State levels.
Wheeler and his wife Emma each served terms as local NAACP President, and also had instrumental roles in the formation of Ann Arbor's Human Rights Commission and the State of Michigan's Civil Rights Commission. Wheeler helped found the Campaign for Human Development, the organization that hired President-elect Barack Obama to his now-famous job as a "community organizer" in Chicago.
Mayor Wheeler was because Ann Arbor was one of the first cities to switch to Ranked Choice Voting. In what could be racist backlash, ranked choice voting was eliminated by special election less than 2 years later.
In addition to Emma, prominent family members in public service include: Daughter, Mary Wheeler McDade, Appellate Judge, Illinois Third District.
- Daughter Alma Wheeler Smith, Michigan State Senator 18th Senate District (1995 - 2002) and Michigan State Representative (2005 - 2010), 54th House District
- Daughter Nancy Francis, Washtenaw County Probate Judge
- Grandson Conan Smith, Washtenaw County Commissioner, 10th Commission District and Executive Director of the Michigan Suburbs Alliance
- Granddaughter-in-Law Rebekah Warren, Michigan State Senate, 18th District (2011 - present) and Michigan State Representative, (2007 - 2010) 53rd District
- Ann Arbor News, 8 Nov. 2008: 'People who want to serve' Wheeler family overturned local barriers
- Dolgan, Corey, Michael Kline, and Laura Dresser. "'House People, Not Cars!': Economic Development, Political Struggle, and Common Sense in a City of Intellect," in Marginal Spaces: Comparative Urban and Community Research, ed. Michael P. Smith, 1-36. Transaction Publishers, 1995.
- University Record, 18 April 1994: Wheeler ‘chartered course we are attempting to follow today’
- Bentley Archives, Albert H. and Emma M. Wheeler papers, 1938-1994 (bulk 1960-1977).
- Al Wheeler for Mayor, advertisement in the Ann Arbor Sun, March 14, 1975
- Albert H. Wheeler entry on Wikipedia