‘Inspirational to us all’: Kinston leaders remember former mayor

Johnnie Mosley died on Saturday at the age of 79
Published: May. 16, 2022 at 7:38 PM EDT
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KINSTON (N.C.) - Kinston leaders are remembering the legacy of a former mayor.

Johnnie Mosley died this past weekend at the age of 79. He was the city’s first Black mayor. WITN talked to people who served with him about how he changed their community for the better.

“Johnnie Mosley was inspirational to us all,” current Mayor Don Hardy said.

As the second Black mayor for the City of Kinston, Hardy knows the importance of seeing representation in leadership.

He takes inspiration from Mosley, the first Black man in his shoes. “It is an honor to me to be able to follow him as the second African American in that role,” Hardy said.

Combined, Mosley served the city of Kinston as a council member and as mayor for nearly 20 years.

Alice Tingle was sworn in as a council member during Mosley’s time as mayor. She recalls how he rallied to help people who were displaced during Hurricane Floyd.

“We had so many people out of homes and Highway 70 was flooded and he took over, helped people find places to live, and he was a true leader,” Tingle said.

Robert Swinson, a current City of Kinston council member, remembers Mosley’s efforts to get $32 million in funding to relocate the city’s water treatment plant, which now bears his name.

“He went to Raleigh and fought effortlessly to get us money to get a new treatment plant and get it moved,” Swinson said.

“He championed for the city of Kinston. He was a very loyal person to the city of Kinston.”

Robert Swinson, City of Kinston council member

Though he is gone now, everyone who worked with Mosley says the future of the city is forever changed because of his courage.

“I always remember his legacy as a fighter, as wanting the citizens to be able to have exactly what they need to put our citizens in a position to succeed,” Hardy said.

Mosley served as a council member from 1987 to 1997 and then as mayor until 2005.

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