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The rural South -- where most of nation's black mayors serve

Although big-city black mayors make most of the headlines, the majority of the nation's 212 black mayors head towns located in the rural South. The towns usually have a black majority.

Such is the case with Ennis B. Humphrey Sr., mayor of Kendleton, Texas. He helped found Kendleton - a community of 5,800, 45 miles southwest of Houston - 10 years ago.

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Kendleton is 98 percent black. This is attributed largely to the benevolence of the Kendle family, ''good white plantation owners who sold land to ex-slaves for 50 cents to $1 an acre,'' says Humphrey.

Traffic violaters provide the town's chief source of revenue, he says. But he says he plans to change that. After having served a decade in office, he says he will quit and work to bring industry to Kendleton. His pitch: Located only 45 miles from Houston with access to rail, highway, air, and sea transportation, Kendleton is an ideal site for industry.

The mayor is seeking a small town federal Urban Development Action Grant to attract a plant that promises 68 jobs in one year and 300 jobs in three years, he says.

''We can't survive and thrive by remaining poor, black farmers without money, '' he says. ''With industry and jobs we can hold on to our young people and become a real city.''

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