updated 5/26/2009 3:23:38 PM ET 2009-05-26T19:23:38

Former New London Mayor Leo Jackson, the first black mayor in New England, has died. He was 83.

Jackson's election by fellow city councilors in 1979 drew national media coverage. He even got a call from President Jimmy Carter, who won Jackson's endorsement during a presidential primary election fight with Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy in 1980.

Jackson was a Democrat who served a single one-year term as mayor, but stayed on the City Council until 1993. The Springfield, Mass., native worked at a submarine factory in Groton for nearly 30 years.

John MacDougall, of Byles Memorial Home, says Jackson died at his home in New London on Sunday night. The funeral home is handling Jackson's services, which have not be finalized. The cause of death was not released.

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