Standing-room-only crowd witnesses history in Orangeburg - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Standing-room-only crowd witnesses history in Orangeburg

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Michael Butler takes his oath of office as Orangeburg Mayor Michael Butler takes his oath of office as Orangeburg Mayor
ORANGEBURG, SC (WIS) -

A packed Stevenson Auditorium at the Orangeburg City Hall Tuesday witnessed the making of history.  The city's first African-American mayor took his oath of office.

"I'm excited about being the first African-American mayor here in the City of Orangeburg," said Mayor Michael C. Butler, who was elected last month. "I am thankful that I have made history tonight.  That's the  most important thing, that I have paved the way so that others may be able to follow in my footsteps."

Butler took his oath of office on stage along with three council members: Charles B. Barnwell, Jr., L. Zimmerman Keitt, Richard F. Stroman.

Parents took their kids to witness the civic tradition.

"It made me feel that I have the support of the citizens of Orangeburg, that they are standing behind me," Butler remarked on the crowd. "Therefore I was overjoyed, overwhelmed, but it gave me a feeling not to ever let them down.  To always live up to the office to which I have been called."

WIS was the first media interview Butler granted in his new role as mayor.

After the swearing-in ceremony, Butler presided over his first, albeit brief, City Council meeting at the council chambers next door.

"I'm ready to roll up my sleeves and go to work for the City of Orangeburg," he said.  "To make it better."

Butler unseated longtime mayor Paul Miller in the September election.

"It's time for a change in the City of Orangeburg," said Butler. "I know that this change has taken place at the right time.  It's the right season.  I feel like I'm the right person and I feel like the city and the county are going to be seamless.  We're going to be a city of one."

"We're going to revitalize this city," he said.  "We're going to retain the citizens that come through here, that maybe go to school, maybe live here.  We have a lot of people migrating out of Orangeburg so we went to bring a newness so maybe they'll consider living in this city.  There will be all kinds of things that would be a charming city, to say 'I want to live here and raise my family.'"

Click here for a photo gallery of the historic event.

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