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.


A 1975 Wheeler campaign ad (source via Lihn Song)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.



Dr. Wheeler's telephone, as shared by Linh Song (twitter)A collection of Al and Emma's papers is kept at the Bentley Archives. Wheeler Park, on the north side of Downtown on Depot Street, is named for Dr. Wheeler.

In addition to Emma, prominent family members in public service include: Daughter, Mary Wheeler McDade, Appellate Judge, Illinois Third District.

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