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Montgomery Alabama Just Elected Its First Black Mayor

Montgomery Alabama Just Elected Its First Black Mayor

Well this is long overdue! Montgomery, Alabama just elected its first Black mayor since the founding of the capital some 200 years ago. 

Steven Reed, a former probate judge, won a runoff election to defeat television station owner David Woods. Reed’s 32,511 votes to Woods 15,891 votes, earned him a win of more than 16,000 votes, the highest number of votes in the city’s August primary, naming him the first Black mayor of Montgomery, according to CNN.

Montgomery was founded in 1819 and is known for two major things, being the birthplace of the civil rights movement and the first capital of the Confederacy during the civil war. It is a city with a lot of history, some painful for many African Americans. 

The city is home to the historic Dexter Avenue Baptist Church where Dr. Martin Luther King served as pastor from 1954 to 1960. It is also the place where, in 1955, Rosa Parks began the historic bus boycott that served as the catalyst for the civil rights movement. And In 1965, King would lead the Selma to Montgomery protest marches that became the crux for the passing of the Voting Rights Act. Just last year, we reported that the Equal Justice Initiative opened their historic National Memorial For Peace and Justice and Legacy Museum, a memorial and museum honoring those victims of lynchings in Montgomery. 

Janay Smith, a 48 year old Montgomery resident spoke to CNN, giving her reaction to the historic win saying, “I am a lifelong resident of Montgomery. My family, I come from maybe about four generations of activists and community leaders. Many of those who came before me are now deceased and didn’t get a chance to see this. But I’m so proud of my city… My city, little bitty Montgomery, Alabama, a place known for racial tension actually came together and did something positive and historic.” 

According to a 2018 US Census, 60 percent of the town’s residents are Black although residents say the political landscape has never reflected that reality. 31-year-old Tiffany Pickens said that Reed’s win was important because, “ [seeing] the city being represented by a person who shares values and understands the history of the city and who understands the struggle of this space is a huge deal.” Pickens said many people never thought the day would come when the city would have a Black mayor and it “makes [her] feel like [she] did when [she] watched President Obama take office.”

Reed spoke at his victory party saying, “Let the record show tonight, above all … what we can do when we come together in this city and we build around positivity, around opportunity, and all the things that tie us together versus those things that keep us apart.”

 

Congratulations Mayor Reed! We look forward to seeing how you bring the city together!