March 24 (UPI) -- Kim Janey, who was a witness to one of the darkest moments in Boston's history, on Wednesday officially became the first Black person and first woman to hold the office of mayor.
Janey, a district council member, became acting mayor when Mayor Martin Walsh joined President Joe Biden's administration as labor secretary.
Although Tuesday was her first day in the post, Janey was ceremonially sworn in on Wednesday. She will hold the office until the next election in November.
"Hello, Boston! Your mayor is a Black woman from Roxbury, who rides public transit, speaks Spanish, and makes the best sweet potato pie ever!" Janey tweeted before the ceremony Wednesday. "When's the last time you could say that?"
Massachusetts Supreme Court Justice Kimberly Budd, the first Black woman to lead the court, administered the oath of office. U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., who served with Janey on the Boston City Council before her election to Congress in 2018, presided over the ceremony.
"This is the city I love," Janey said in a report by WCVB-TV. "This is the city where I have been a student and a parent, an organizer and an advocate, a city councilor and the city council president. I am proud to continue my work with you, as your mayor."
Janey made Boston history when in 2017 she became the first woman to represent her district, which includes Roxbury and parts of the South End and Dorchester. Last year, her fellow city council members voted her council president.
Janey was part of a dark chapter in Boston's history. In 1976, she was among the first Black children to be bused to other schools in the city, two years after a controversial forced racial integration order -- which was subsequently met with widespread protests, violence and repeated efforts to go back to segregation.
"This is going to mean the demise of the great city of Boston, because without these [White] people in Boston we can never have an integrated city. It will mean an all-Black city for Boston," one parent told UPI in 1975.
The desegregation order stood and a federal appeals court officially declared Boston's schools desegregated in 1987.
In 2012, Janey, who was then senior project director for Massachusetts Advocates for Children, staunchly opposed a proposed plan by some Boston schools to kill the integration order.
"It's a new day for the city," Janey wrote in an op-ed Tuesday in the Boston Globe. "I promise to bring my life experiences and passion to make this a better city for everyone."
"We can do better," she said in a report by the Boston Herald. "We are not going back to normal -- we are going better.
"Normal was hurting too many residents."