CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Conway native Barbara Jo-Blain Bellamy is in her fourth year as mayor, but she’s served the city of Conway for more than 25 years.
“It’s amazing how time passes. It’s not until I go back and start counting that I get a sense that it’s actually been that much time. I had a conversation with a young man recently and as it turned out he was born the year that I began on Conway City Council and he’s quite a businessman today, so that tells time goes by very quickly when you’re having fun, so it’s been a really good ride,” she said.
Bellamy has a unique background. She decided to go to law school later on in life, but she was in social work for many years. She was later accepted and graduated law school in two-and-a-half years at the age of 47.
"I was at the time thinking I could still change the world, naively I’d say, and I don’t know that I’ve done much to change the world, but I do have just a pocketful of examples of where I made a difference, a really big difference in somebody’s life. So I’m very proud of that,” Bellamy said.
Bellamy is the first black mayor of Conway and was elected in 2016. When asked what she hopes her legacy is for Conway and for the residents, she said she hopes “girls around us see that there are just no limits to what they can do, to where they can go and the contributions they can make in their communities, in their own lives as a black woman.”
“I think even more so for children of all races to understand not only that there’s opportunity available to them, but there also is a responsibility,” she said. "I believe that everybody is set here for a purpose, that it’s not just about surviving, it’s not just about having a life that you like, but it’s about giving back as well and I’m hoping that somebody will look at the things that have been a part of my life and try to emulate it in their own.”