Melissa Hill Makes History as Chesapeake’s First Black Mayor, Focused on Community Restoration and Growth

Chesapeake, West Virginia, Mayor Melissa Hill.
Photo still from WCHS Interview 

Chesapeake, West Virginia, witnessed a groundbreaking moment as Melissa Hill, a 56-year-old IT consultant, emerged victorious in the mayoral race, becoming the town’s first Black mayor. With an impressive 121 votes, Hill’s election reflects the community’s desire for change and progress.

Having been a resident of Chesapeake since 2008, Hill ran a campaign centered on actively listening to the concerns and aspirations of the citizens. Her commitment to restoring the unity and support that characterized the town in the past resonated strongly with the close-knit community. 

Hill expressed her determination to revive the winning spirit that once defined Chesapeake, stating to the Charleston Gazette-Mail and WCHS, “We loved and supported each other. I thought Chesapeake was a winning town, and we want to experience that again.”

Hill’s vision for her mayoral term focuses on several key aspects. She aims to attract grants to fuel community development, implement crucial services for seniors and youth, enhance parks and recreational facilities, and explore opportunities for land acquisition in the Nelson Hollow area. Thomas B. Hill Sr. – her father, a former Chesapeake police officer, and town council member – instilled in her a sense of public service and community dedication.

Melissa Hill’s election as Chesapeake’s first Black mayor marks a significant milestone in the town’s history. With a steadfast commitment to community restoration, growth, and inclusivity, Hill aspires to bring about positive change and foster a prosperous and united town for all residents.

It is worth acknowledging the legacy of Black mayors in West Virginia, which includes trailblazers such as those from Keystone, West Virginia. As early as 1911, Keystone elected West Virginia’s first Black mayor and established the state’s first major minority newspaper. The rich history of African American leaders in West Virginia continues with individuals like Charlene Marshall in Morgantown, Daniel L. Dudley in Wellsburg, and Beverly White, the first African American woman to hold the title of Mayor in Lewisburg. These remarkable individuals have paved the way for representation and progress in their respective communities.

Melissa Hill’s achievement in Chesapeake adds to this legacy, showcasing the ongoing strides toward inclusivity and diverse leadership throughout West Virginia. With her focused approach and dedication to community well-being, Hill is poised to make a lasting impact on Chesapeake’s future. The town eagerly anticipates the positive changes she will bring as its first Black mayor, working toward a vibrant and prosperous community for all its residents.

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