Birmingham's first black mayor backing Sparks

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Birmingham's first black mayor, Richard Arrington, says he will support state Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks for governor rather than U.S. Rep. Artur Davis, who is trying to become Alabama's first black governor.

Arrington is planning a news conference with Sparks in Birmingham on Wednesday to officially announce the endorsement. But he told The Birmingham News on Tuesday that he believes Sparks will be the kind of governor who will work across racial lines and move Alabama forward.

Arrington was elected mayor of Birmingham in 1979. Judge U.W. Clemon, who became Alabama's first black federal judge in 1980, announced Tuesday he is endorsing Davis. Sparks and Davis meet in the Democratic primary on June 1.

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