As people began to flock to Charlottesville in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the population doubled, mirroring the national trend of urbanization. While many accounts of Virginia's political history suggest that African-American political activity vanished in 1900 and only reemerged in the 1930s, a closer examination of local politics in Charlottesville reveals a different story. In fact, African-Americans in Charlottesville were actively engaged in politics during this period. The Colored Men's Political League was established in 1901 and was devoted to advancing African-American political participation and civil rights.
Other organizations such as the Colored Citizens' League and the Colored Women's League were also formed to promote African-American political involvement and civil rights, as well as educate African-Americans about their rights and responsibilities as citizens. The 1920s saw the formation of the Charlottesville Negro Voters League, which was dedicated to registering African-American voters and encouraging them to take part in elections. This organization also worked to educate African-Americans about their rights and responsibilities as citizens. This trend continued into the 1930s and 1940s, with the Charlottesville Negro Voters League continuing its mission of registering African-American voters and educating them about their rights.
In 1954, Charlottesville elected its first African-American mayor, William H. Brown Jr., who served from 1954 to 1958. During his tenure, he worked to improve race relations and promote civil rights for all citizens. Since then, Charlottesville has continued to be a leader in promoting civil rights for all citizens. In recent years, there has been an increase in civic engagement among its citizens, with more people participating in local elections and advocating for social justice.