Keysville: Old Dreams in the New South

  • Keysville

On January 4, 1988, 63-year-old Emma Gresham became the first black mayor — the first mayor in a half century — of Keysville, Georgia, winning the election over her white opponent by ten votes. In the town courthouse, a trailer mounted on cinderblocks, a banner reads “Justice Knows No Boundaries,” a constant reminder of both the town’s troubled history — residents live in extreme poverty, with seventy percent still hauling their own water — and the vision for its future. Emma Gresham serves up a recipe of motivation, education, patience and political action, along with her famous biscuits, to lead this small, mostly African-American Southern town to realize the American dream of a better life.