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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

First African American mayor of Mansfield

Azul Sordo/The Collegian
Michael Evans was a former member of TCC’s Board of Trustees and is currently the pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church, where he has served for over 30 years.

Mansfield’s newly elected mayor discusses his victory and his hopes for the future of the city

JOSE ROMERO
campus editor

Reverend Dr. Michael A. Evans Sr. is a previous member of TCC’s Board of Trustees, former U.S. Navy reserve chaplain, Bethlehem Baptist Church’s pastor and now Mansfield’s first African American mayor.

Evans’ term as District 5 seat — covering South Arlington and Mansfield — on the Board of Trustees lasted from 2016 to 2020 and was recently filled by Leonard Hornsby on Feb. 11. Evans has had a long history with TCC dating back to the 1990s.

“TCC allowed me to go into the high schools and talk to people about college and the opportunities to better their life,” Evans said. “TCC exposed me to a world that was a lot broader than mine, and it caused me to appreciate the hunger that people have to make their lives better. I will forever be grateful to a college for doing just that.”

In the ‘90s, Evans was an adjunct professor for a class that taught students “how to survive college.” He reminisced about his time teaching it, calling it the “treat of his life.”
Nowadays, he’s focused on his tasks as a mayor.

“We want to definitely make sure that we continue to be the safest city, not just Tarrant County, but in the country, and we are,” he said. “Knock on wood; we didn’t have a murder in Mansfield last year, not once.”

One of his desires is for Mansfield to thrive as a spot where people can come and enjoy the culture. A few things he hopes they’ll come to see are live music and theatrical performances in the downtown area.

As a practicing pastor, Evans’ favorite spot in Mansfield isn’t a surprise. He laughed and said it’s Bethlehem Baptist Church, twice. When he isn’t on mayor duty, he’s focused on his pastoral work at the church where he’s served for over 30 years.

“I’m not gonna lie to you, man,” Evans said. “I owe so much to the Bethlehem Baptist Church to where everything else is secondary, besides my family and my own place where I live.”
He found it difficult to recount only one memory at the church, but then settled on telling one of the funniest stories he could remember.

It was a story of how he — a man raised in Houston with no prior interaction with livestock — was chased into his office by a giant hog that he described as “big as a Volkswagen.”
Evans paused for a moment before describing the late deacon Willie O. Lawson, an influential figure in his life.

“He was my teacher, my mentor,” Evans said. “I’ll say this to you as well, Willie Lawson was my covering. He protected me from things, from people, from criticism. He was in the shadows, but he was always there to guide me.”

Evans also spent eight years in the U.S. Navy as a reserve chaplain. He was ordained — made a priest — and commissioned into the Navy on the same day.

He reflected on pieces of media that have impacted his life. Evans said he loves history, documentaries and period pieces. Eras that he’s most interested in are colonial times, slavery and the civil rights movement.

“Seeing people succeed, people make it, people survive, how they overcome adversity,” he said. “Those are all of the things that really, really touch me.”

Evans described a book written by Howard Thurman, “Jesus and the Disinherited.” It’s a book about helping the less fortunate and marginalized, Evans said.

“Follow your passion,” he said. “Even when people tell you that you can’t do it. Follow your gut. If it is in you, try it. Failure is not failure. Failure is your progression towards success.”

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