Montgomery elects its first African-American Steven Reed mayor in 200 years

Steven Reed

Steven Reed has made history with his election into the seat of mayor in the majority-black city known as a flashpoint in the struggle for the civil rights movement, Montgomery.

Reed who is the Montgomery County probate judge beat television station owner David Woods in a runoff by 16,000 votes. While Reed had 32,918 votes, Woods got 16,010 votes. Reed has become the first African-American to be voted in as a mayor in Montgomery, a city founded in 1819. He was also the first African-American to be elected as the county’s probate judge in 2012. The city is said to be home to 59.8% of black.

Montgomery which is Alabama’s second-largest city is known for many of the civil rights movement that took place therein. It is the birthplace of the civil rights movement. It is also the site of Rosa Parks’ famous bus boycott in 1955. It also hosts Dr Martin Luther King Jr.’s church, Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.

Montgomery is also the destination of the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery protest marches that were met with brutal police violence and led to the Voting Rights Act.

The city was also the first capital of the Confederacy early in the Civil War, and till date, many of its streets and schools bear Confederate names.

Montgomery, known for its role in the civil rights movement has added another historic moment to it by electing their first Black mayor.

Montgomery historian Richard Bailey said: “This will be a historic day in Montgomery. For the first time, the people of this city, especially African Americans, will be able to say that we have someone in the mayor’s office who understands the pulse of the black community”.

Reed will take over from Todd Strange, who has been Montgomery’s mayor since 2009 but did not contest for reelection. Reed is expected to be sworn in on November 12.