Montgomery, Alabama, the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement and a city where more than half of the population is black, made history on Tuesday night. The city elected its first black mayor.
Steven Reed, the Montgomery County probate judge beat television station owner David Woods in a runoff, gaining 32,918 votes to Woods’ 16,010 according to incomplete, unofficial results. Reed will be sworn in next month.
Reed made history in 2012 when he became the first African American elected as the county’s probate judge.
“This election has never been about me,” Reed said in his victory speech. “This election has never been about just my ideas. It’s been about all the hopes and dreams we have as individuals and collectively in this city.”
Of the six Deep South states, Montgomery was one of only three cities that held a population of 100,000 people or more that had not elected an African American to the highest seat in municipal government. Black mayors began winning elections in the 1960s, beginning with Cleveland, Ohio; Newark, New Jersey; Detroit, Michigan; Gary, Indiana and Los Angeles. In 1997, Houston elected its first black mayor in Lee P. Brown.