SELMA, Ala. (AP) _ Businessman James Perkins was elected mayor Tuesday, becoming the first black to win the office in a city where blood was shed in a 1965 crusade that opened voting booths to blacks across the South.

Perkins, 47, defeated Mayor Joe Smitherman, a former segregationist seeking his 10th straight term in the non-partisan runoff.

It was Perkins' third attempt to knock Smitherman out of office.

With all but absentee ballots counted, Perkins had 5,668 votes, or about 60 ercentl. Smitherman had 3,712, or about 40 percent.

The 70-year-old Smitherman first took office about six months before the historic voting rights marches of 1965, and managed to hold onto the office over the years as the electorate went from nearly all-white to 65 percent black.

He had won in recent years by getting almost all the white votes and some black votes.