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MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — The first woman elected queen of Alabama’s leading black Mardi Gras group has died.

News outlets report that Aline Jenkins Howard of Mobile died Thursday. She was 97.

Mobile has what it calls the nation’s oldest Mardi Gras celebration and the groups that stage parades and balls historically were broken down by race.

The Mobile Area Mardi Gras Association was formed by the city’s black residents in 1939, when it was called the Colored Carnival Association. The group’s website says it held its first parade in 1940, and Howard was named its first queen.

The city’s Mardi Gras groups are still mostly divided along racial lines, although people of all races attend parades.

An announcement from Howard’s family says the lifelong Mobile resident spent her career in education.