Timothy Ragland just became Talladega, Alabama’s first Black Mayor.
Ragland received 1,014 votes to Jerry Cooper’s 991 votes, defeating the former mayor in a runoff election, WBRC Fox 6 News reports.
The win makes the 29-year-old law school graduate not only the first African American mayor of Talladega, but also the city’s youngest mayor.
Alabama has had a string of firsts in recent days with Montgomery also electing their first Black mayor, Steven Reed. Alabama was a crux of the civil rights movement and Montgomery is known as the birthplace of the movement but there were several cities across the state that contributed.
In Tuskegee, the University became known for its expansion of education for African Americans following the civil war. The Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa was the site where Vivian Malone and James Hood became the first two Black students to register at the college, forcefully with the help of President John F. Kennedy. In Selma, the Brown Chapel AME Church was the first host church of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a member of. Mobile was the site of the Campground Historic District, an area where freed slaves settled that once thrived with working class Black families. Birmingham’s Sixteenth Street Baptist Church served as a training center for activists and was the departure site for many of the marches during the civil rights movement. And just 50 miles east of Birmingham was Talladega, home to Talladega College, Alabama’s oldest private historically Black liberal arts college, one of the sole places responsible for birthing most of Alabama’s Black middle class.
Currently, only about 33% of Talladega’s almost 80,000 residents are African American according to a 2018 Census. But after 187 years since its founding, the city deserves representation that more accurately reflects its demographic. Clearly, residents believe that Ragland is the man for the job.
The Talladega native spoke of his historic win saying, “It’s a great honor that the people of Talladega thought enough of me to allow me to be, to make this a historic run, and I’m so thankful to them, and I can’t wait to get to work on behalf of the citizens of Talladega.”
Congratulations Mayor Ragland! We look forward to seeing how you serve the residents of Talladega!
Photo Courtesy of Timothy L. Ragland/Facebook