At 29, Timothy Ragland further writes his name in the history books as the city’s youngest mayor.
According to WBRC, Ragland narrowly defeated his opponent and incumbent mayor, Jerry Cooper by 1014 to 991 votes in Tuesday’s runoff elections.
Currently a third-year law student at the Faulkner University’s Thomas Goode Jones School of Law in Montgomery, Ragland expressed his gratitude for being elected as mayor, adding that he couldn’t wait to hit the ground running.
“It’s a great honor that the people of Talladega thought enough of me to allow me to be, to make this a historic run, and I’m so thankful to them, and I can’t wait to get to work on behalf of the citizens of Talladega,” he told WBRC.
His opponent, Jerry Cooper, who was looking at winning a second term also conceded defeat.
“I respect (the people’s) thoughts, and what they wanted to do. I love Talladega. I love the people here. And I have helped this city. But the people have spoken,” he said.
In another interview with WVTM 13, Ragland, while outlining his goals and objectives as mayor of Talladega also spoke about what it means to be the city’s first African-American mayor.
“We’re not just a city that’s…we’re not stuck in the past. It’s 2019,” he said. “It speaks to how much that we’re together. I’m standing on the shoulders of giants,” he added before mentioning trailblazing African Americans who held public offices in the city and paved the way for him.
“I’m standing on their shoulders and I have a lot of work to do to fill out their shoes,” he said.
About what he hopes his victory shows other people, he said: “I hope it shows that if you work hard, you can achieve anything despite whatever odds may be against you. Anything is possible if you put the work in and you have belief.”
The city is also known as the birthplace of the civil rights movement for its 1950s bus boycotts over segregated seating.
A county probate judge, Reed defeated white businessman David Woods by a margin of 67 per cent vote in a run-off, according to results.
With a 60% African American population, Reed’s victory came at a time when the city is still learning to live with its past. It was the first capital of the Confederate States of America in 1861.
“We’re a city that wants to move forward and a city that wants a vision for the future, and a city that wants to see better opportunities across the board,” Reed told The Associated Press.