Steven L. Reed, Montgomery’s First Black Mayor, Now Leads AAMA, 5 Years Later

Steven L. Reed is Montgomery, Alabama’s first black mayor. Alabama has a historic record as the cradle of the Civil Rights Movement.

In honor of Revolutionary War General Richard Montgomery, the city was named Montgomery in 1819, and it became Alabama’s capital in 1846. According to TIME, the city served as a hub for human cargo transportation and slave trading during the antebellum period. Following the Civil War, the city boasted of having one of the highest numbers of black office holders as political rights for the Black community expanded as a result of federal control, TIME reported.

Reed’s father, Joseph L. Reed, was president of the Alabama State Teachers Association and participated in a sit-in at the Montgomery County Courthouse’s segregated restaurant on February 25, 1960. The African-American teachers’ union ultimately amalgamated with its all-white counterpart in 1969.

Reed took the oath of office as mayor of the majority black community in 2019, 50 years after his father played a role in the integration effort. He defeated David Woods, a white television station owner, with 67% of the vote.

According to Reed, “To see things come to where they are right now, when you think of what took place in this country — from the first enslaved Africans being brought here [to Virginia] in 1619, to this city being founded in 1819, to the city electing its first black mayor in 2019 — the significance of it is also found in the possibilities that we are now afforded and the hope it has given people that we will progress to a New South.”

Following his election as mayor, he stressed public safety, universal healthcare, and economic development. Five years after his election, Mayor Reed has accomplished another historic milestone by becoming president of the African American Mayors Association.

BOTWC noted that AAMA, which was created in 2014, provides a venue for black mayors to share ideas and advocate for their communities. As president of AAMA, he aims to address crucial issues including as gun violence, affordable housing, and educational inequities, in addition to his primary focus as mayor of Montgomery. He has a thorough awareness of the issues confronting his community and wishes to give data-driven answers.

Mayor Reed’s childhood in Alabama, as well as his education at Morehouse College and Vanderbilt University, turned him into a forward-thinking leader. He is a role model for many young black Americans and has led the battle for a more egalitarian society.

Reed, who earned an M.B.A. from Vanderbilt, spent much of his career in business before entering politics. He also owned a Roly Poly Sandwiches store in Montgomery.




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