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 A. J. Cervantes

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A. J. Cervantes

Mayor of St. Louis. Born Alfonso J. Cervantes, he started his political career in 1949 when he was elected to the St. Louis Board of Alderman. In 1965, he was elected Mayor of the City of St. Louis, where he served for two four-year terms, from 1965 to 1973. He was the forty-third Mayor of St. Louis. During his term, he focused particular attention to race relations and crime fighting. When many other large cities experienced race riots during the late 1960's, Mayor Cervantes met with African-American leaders and encouraged African-American participation in local government. It is thought that these actions prevented similar riots in St. Louis. Cervantes was active in crime-fighting initiatives in St. Louis: Pawnshop owners were required to photograph sellers and record their identity. The successful "Lock it and pocket the key" program significantly reduced auto theft. Cervantes was also successful in getting financing approved for completion of the Gateway Arch and grounds. His term was not without controversy. He was criticized for moving the Spanish Pavilion from the 1964 New York World's Fair to St. Louis as well as an 80-foot reproduction of the Santa Maria to the St. Louis riverfront. During a thunderstorm, the Santa Maria broke loose from its moorings and sunk. Cervantes is thought to have lost his bid for a third term as mayor primarily due to his effort to move the area's airport across the river to Illinois. However, in retrospect, St. Louis' Mayor Slay is quoted in a 2006 documentary on Cervantes' life as saying that moving the airport to Illinois probably would have "helped us keep the center of gravity close to the city of St. Louis."

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 19 May 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 9339
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for A. J. Cervantes (27 Aug 1920–23 Jun 1983), Find A Grave Memorial no. 9339, citing Calvary Cemetery and Mausoleum, Saint Louis, St. Louis City, Missouri, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .