DeRay Mckesson, whose activism over the last year and a half has vaulted him from obscure Twitter sage to a political force in the national Black Lives Matter movement, announced Wednesday that he was running for mayor of Baltimore.
His entry is a step into the mainstream for a national movement that has been criticized for a lack of organized structure and tactics. His candidacy is sure to jolt the political and protest communities at a time when activists have eschewed traditional politics and sought to work outside the system.
Mr. Mckesson, a Baltimore native who will run as a Democrat, faces an uphill climb.
He is diving, relatively late, into a crowded race of about a dozen candidates. Among them are prominent black leaders including Nick J. Mosby, a city councilman and the husband of the prosecutor who is trying six police officers in the death of a young black Baltimore man last year, and Sheila Dixon, the former mayor who remains popular even though she left office after a conviction on fraud charges. David L. Warnock, a prominent businessman, also is vying for the nomination.