History Made With Two First-Ever Black Mayors Elected In Alabama

Steven Reed for Montgomery and Timothy Ragland for Talladega had historic wins.

Two Alabama towns celebrated historic wins on Tuesday (October 8) with first-ever Black mayors elected.

Steven L. Reed, a probate judge, will lead the majority-Black city and capital of Alabama as the first Black mayor-elect of Montgomery, almost 200 years after it was incorporated, reports the New York Times

Mayor Reed defeated David Woods, a white TV station owner, by capturing about 67 percent of the vote in the nonpartisan runoff election, according to unofficial results released by the city, the Times reports. 

Montgomery’s current mayor, Todd Strange, has served since 2009 and decided not to run for re-election. 

“This election has never been about me,” Mr. Reed said during his election speech Tuesday night. 

“This election has never been about just my ideas,” he continued. “It’s been about all the hopes and dreams that we have as individuals and collectively in this city.” 

This isn’t the first for Reed, who became the first Black probate judge in Montgomery County after graduating from Morehouse and earning an M.B.A. from Vanderbilt. Joe Reed, the mayor-elect's father, is a longtime leader of the Black caucus of the state Democratic Party, the Times reports. 

“I’m a native of Montgomery. I was born and raised here. I went to public school here. So, it means a lot,” Reed told CNN.

Rev. Edward J. Nettles, a prominent pastor in the capital city said Mayor Reed’s win “will send a signal to the entire country that Montgomery is moving forward in a positive way.” 

About 90 miles away in Talladega, AL, under historic celebration was underway Tuesday night when Timothy Ragland became the city’s first-ever Black mayor-elect, and the youngest at 28, The Daily Home reports.

“I am standing on the shoulders of giants,” Ragland said after beating Mayor Jerry Cooper in a very close election. 

Ragland, a law clerk who is working on a law degree from the Thomas Goode Jones School of Law, won by only 23 votes, 1,014 to 991, The Daily Home reports.

(Edythe) Sims was the first African-American elected to the City Council, and I hope that I can live up to the high standards set by her and others that came before me,” he said.

“It is a great honor that people thought enough of me when I was running to give me their votes, and now I can’t wait to get to work,” Ragland added. “I will be an advocate for all our citizens, and I know that there is nothing we cannot overcome together.” 

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