Montgomery, Alabama — Alabama’s capital, Montgomery, is almost synonymous with the Montgomery Bus Boycott and was the site of many of the nation’s most contentious racial and civil rights conflicts, which ultimately gave birth to the civil rights movement.
But the city which was the first capital of the Confederacy elected its first African American mayor Tuesday, Oct. 8 with Probate Judge Steven Reed, 45, sound defeat of businessman David Woods for the office.
“This election has never been about me. This election has never been about just my ideas. It’s been about all of the hopes and dreams that we have as individuals and collectively in the city,” Reed said in his victory speech.
Reed said his campaign was built on a coalition focused on the city’s future and “all of the things that tie us together rather than those things that keep us apart.”
Steven Reed, also the first black probate judge elected in Montgomery County, was first to issue marriage licenses to gay couples in the state.
The newly elected mayor will replace current Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange, who has served since 2009 and did not seek reelection. Ironically his office at City Hall is located not far from the church once led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and is also near the spot where Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to obey bus segregation laws.
Montgomery, a city of roughly 200,000 people, is about 60 percent black and has been losing population for years. Issues in the race included tackling crime, which Woods said is his top priority during a debate.