Lila May Banks Cockrell


The Amistad Award 2013

Lila May Banks Cockrell (born January 19, 1922) is a former mayor of San Antonio, Texas. During World War II, she served in the WAVES branch of the United States Navy. She served as President of the Dallas and San Antonio chapters of the League of Women Voters during the 1950s.

After serving for a decade on the city council, including her 1969 service as the city’s first woman mayor Pro Tem, Cockrell was elected in 1975 to the first of four two-year terms as Mayor of San Antonio. At the time of her inauguration, San Antonio’s population gave her the status of the mayor over the largest American city being governed by a woman.

She is often listed as the first woman in the United States to be elected mayor of a major metropolis. However, Bertha Knight was mayor of Seattle 1926–1928. Cockrell’s first three terms ran consecutively 1975–1981. At the end of her third term, she chose not to run because of the illness of her husband Sidney Earl Cockrell Jr. She was succeeded by Henry Cisneros. Widowed in 1988, she was elected to her fourth term as mayor in 1989 when Cisneros left office.

On November, 2013 Lila May Banks Cockrell was honored with the Amistad Award by the San Antonio-Mexico Friendship Council (SAMFCO).