Michael B. Coleman is the first African American Mayor of Columbus, Ohio. Coleman was born on November 18, 1954 in Indianapolis, Indiana to John Coleman, a medical doctor, and Joan Coleman, a local civil rights activist. His family relocated to Toledo when Michael turned three.
Growing up in Toledos middle-class black community helped to foster the importance of a strong community to ensure socially, culturally, and economically healthy cities. Coleman attended St. Johns Jesuit High School, graduating in 1973. He then studied political science at the University of Cincinnati, graduating with a B.S. degree in 1977. Coleman received a law degree from the University of Dayton in 1980. He married his wife Frankie in 1985. The couple has three children.
Coleman moved to Columbus in 1980 to work as an attorney in the Attorney Generals office and in 1982 was hired as a legislative aide for Columbus City Council member Ben Espy. Later he joined the law firm of Schottenstein, Zox, and Dunn before beginning his career in politics.
In 1992 Coleman was appointed to the Columbus City Council. During his term in office he encouraged organizations like the Community Housing Network which built and improved housing in the African American community. He also created mentor programs to help youth development in the city. In 1997, Coleman was voted president of the City Council. In 1998 he was the unsuccessful Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Ohio on the ticket headed by gubernatorial candidate Lee Fisher.
Despite his defeat, Michal Coleman ran for mayor of Columbus in 1999. Beating his former boss, Ben Espy, in the Democratic Primary, he then out polled Republican opponent Dorothy Teater, a Franklin County commissioner, winning over 60% of the 82,000 votes cast. Coleman became the first black mayor of Columbus and the first Democrat to hold the office since 1971.
As mayor, Coleman strengthened the economy of Columbus by attracting new jobs, bringing in private investment, and balancing the