Huntington, WV Black History

Mayor Joseph and Shirley Williams


Joseph L. Williams grew up in Madison, West Virginia, and graduated from Scott High School. He earned a B.B.A. degree in Finance from Marshall University (1978) and is a graduate of the Mayor’s Leadership Institute. He attended several West Virginia and Virginia Banker’s Director College seminars.

Joseph is the current chairman and CEO of Basic Supply Company, Inc. in Huntington. He also served as chairman, president and CEO of Consolidated Bank & Trust Company in Richmond, Virginia, from February 2007 until November 2009.

Joseph is the director of Energy Services of America (ESOA), a member of the Huntington Housing Development Corporation, a member of the Huntington Municipal Development Authority and regional advisory board member of Wesbanco.

He was the director and co-organizer of the First Sentry Bank, now Wesbanco. He was the co-founder and director of the Ebony Golf Classic from 1971 until 1987.

Joseph served as a Huntington city councilman from 1981 through 1985, and became the first Black mayor of the City of Huntington, serving 1984-85. He has served as the director of the Adams National Bank and the Abigail Adams National Bancorp, both in Washington, D.C. He was the first chairperson and co-founder of Unlimited Future, Inc. (a business development center), president and board member of the J. W. Scott Community Center, Treasurer and Finance Chairman of the Huntington Museum of Art Trustee Board. He has been a board member of the Huntington Urban Renewal Authority, the Huntington Area Chamber of Commerce, and United Way of the River Cities, the Huntington Chapter of the NAACP, the Huntington Convention & Tourist Bureau and Marshall University’s Big Green Scholarship Fund.

Joseph has been a member of Marshall University’s Board of Governors and the Huntington Municipal Development Authority. He has also served as a member of the Executive Committee – Venture Richmond, the Forum Club, and the Management Roundtable all in Richmond, Va. He been a member of the Virginia Caribbean Education Exchange, the Cabell Huntington Hospital Foundation Board of Directors, the Board of Visitors of Marshall University’s Social Works Program, the Rotary Club of Huntington, BASF’s Citizens Advisory Committee, the West Virginia Governor’s Partnership for Progress Committee, the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing Advisory Committee, the U.S. Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council, the West Virginia Capital Corporation Board (an Initiative of West Virginia Bankers Association), the Marshall University Lewis College of Business Advisory Board, the State of West Virginia Workforce Investment Council and the Transportation Committee of the Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce.

In November 2023, the new Mayor Joseph L. Williams Jr. Fire Station, located at the corner of 9th Avenue and 20th Street, was dedicated in his honor.

Shirley Williams is a graduate of Paul Blazer High School in Ashland, Kentucky. She earned an associate’s degree in computer technology from Marshall University in 1989. She became the first Black woman to receive the title of First Lady in the City of Huntington when her husband, Joseph L. Williams Jr., became mayor in 1984.

She is semi-retired and is a managing member of J&S Investments, LLC. She is currently a board member of the Coalition for the Homeless, a member of the Catholic Daughters of Americas and a member of the Riviera Ladies Golf League (WV) and the past league secretary.

Shirley has served as the president and board member of the J. W. Scott Community Center, a board member of the Huntington City Mission, a member of the Cabell Huntington Hospital Fundraising Auction Committee, member of the Black Professional & Business Women’s Association, member of the Belmont Ladies Golf League (Richmond, Va.),  member of Church Women United, member of the Democratic Women’s Club, executive secretary and member of the Ebony Golf Classic from 1971 until 1987 and served as a church representative and treasurer of Catholics for Christian Harmony.

In May 2018, she was inducted into the African-American Golfers Hall of Fame in West Palm Beach, Fla., along with her husband. She received the Black Alumni Association Outstanding Community Service Award from Marshall University in 2005 and was the recipient of the Black Legends of Marshall University award along with her husband in 2002. She received recognition for being the top team captain for the American Heart Association of Huntington.

Shirley is a member of St. Peter Claver Catholic Church where she is a member of the Ladies Guild, Eucharistic Ministry, Music Ministry, Blessing Box Committee and the Social & Bereavement Committee. She was formerly secretary of the Pastoral Council, Children’s Ministry teacher and member and Cantor of the Church Choir.

Shirley has been a caregiver to many and is always helping anyone in need of assistance.  

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