Otis Higgs history includes three mayoral runs - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Otis Higgs history includes three mayoral runs

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(WMC-TV) - Family, friends, and city leaders paid tribute to a gracious giant of city politics as Judge W. Otis Higgs was laid to rest Friday.

To many though, Higgs was more than just a judge. He was also a former Memphis mayoral candidate.

Otis Higgs challenged Mayor Wyeth Chandler twice, once in 1975 and again in 1979. He lost both races but won many fans, including his opponent.

"Otis Higgs has conducted himself throughout this campaign as a gentleman. He has conducted himself well. He has never involved himself in any activity that would be considered anything but of the highest level," said Former Memphis Mayor Wyeth Chandler after he won the race in a run-off.

The lawyer later played a role in ending the run-off rule in Memphis elections, leading to citywide victories for many African-Americans, including Mayor Willie Herenton.

Higgs made three runs in all for city mayor and one for the county's top job. Higgs served as interim sheriff briefly in 1990 and then returned to the criminal court bench in 1998 where he served until his death last week.

The gifted speaker became an ordained CME minister but perhaps was never more eloquent than his concession speech in 1979:

"We can translate this extraordinary spirit into the city at large. I know we'll be a better city and so I leave the stage but I'm reminded of that poem Invictus, my head is bloodied but I am not bowed."

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