Rev. Dr. W. Wilson Goode was the first African-American mayor of Philadelphia from 1984-1992. Goode was born on August 19, 1938 in North Carolina, and his family moved to Philadelphia when he was a child. Goode graduated from Bartram High School and was the first of his family to attend college, graduating from Morgan State University. He also furthered his education with a Master's in Public Administration at the Fels Institute of Government at University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Goode served as an officer in the US Army, probation officer, and other jobs. He worked as Executive Director for the Philadelphia Council for Community Advancement and helped revitalize neighborhoods and create affordable housing. In 1979 he was appointed as Chairman of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and had to investigate the incident at Three Mile Island. From 1980-1983 Dr. Goode worked under Mayor Bill Green's administration as Managing Director of the City of Philadelphia, where he held neighborhood meetings to address city problems and helped clean up neighborhoods.
In 1983, Goode campaigned for Mayor of Philadelphia and beat Frank Rizzo in the Democratic Primary, and John Egan, the Republican nominee, to win the position. Goode's mayoral career started with controversy with the MOVE bombing, where Goode authorized the Philadelphia police dropping a bomb in West Philadelphia to try to clear a building. 11 people died, almost four city blocks (62 homes) were destroyed, and 240 people were left homeless as a result. Despite this disaster, Goode was re-elected for a second term.
After serving the city of Philadelphia as mayor for eight years, Dr. Goode worked with the Clinton administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Education. In 1999, Goode became an ordained Baptist minister to serve his community and worked with senior citizens and former prisoners.
Former Mayor Goode created a faith-based mentoring program for children of incarcerated parents called " Amachi: People of Faith Mentoring Children of Promise ." He has published several books, including, " In Goode Faith ," "Building from the Ground Up," and " Black Voters Mattered: A Philadelphia Story ."
In 2018, the 2400 block of North 59th Street became known as W. Wilson Goode Sr. Way. Dr. Goode and his wife have one son, two daughters, and two granddaughters.
Photo: Philadelphia Mayor Wilson Goode with Jeff Smith, The Frugal Gourmet, at Fante's Kitchen Shop (1986) by N Giovannucci