He was one of the first African-American men to be elected as a city councilman and mayor of a predominantly white town. The distinction led to him being featured in Life magazine.
Benjamin Franklin Gross was elected to the Milpitas City Council in 1962 and served as Milpitas Mayor beginning in 1966. He died Monday in Detroit at the age of 91, according to the Milpitas Post and San Jose Mercury News.
The Ford assembly plant brought Gross to Milpitas in the 1950s. He worked with the United Autoworkers Union to ensure decent housing for its African American employees. Gross' work made the Sunnyhills neighborhood a national moedel for integration.
He returned to Detroit in the 1970s.
Milpitas Post obituary
San Jose Mercury News obituary