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BY Abu Mubarik, 7:02pm May 13, 2024,

5 years after becoming the first Black mayor of Montgomery, Alabama, Steven L. Reed is now president of AAMA

Photo: StevenLReed.org

Steven L. Reed is the first black mayor of Montgomery, Alabama. The state of Alabama holds a historic record as being the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement.

In honor of Revolutionary War General Richard Montgomery, the city was named Montgomery in 1819, and it became the capital of Alabama in 1846. The city also became a nexus for human cargo transport and one of the largest slave-trading hubs in the antebellum United States, according to TIME. After the Civil War, the city boasted of being one of the cities with the highest number of black office holders as political rights for the Black population expanded due to federal oversight, TIME added.

Reed’s father, Joseph L. Reed, who is known for joining the February 25, 1960, sit-in at the Montgomery County Courthouse’s segregated restaurant, was also president of the Alabama State Teachers Association. The African-American teachers organization later merged with its all-white counterpart in 1969.

In 2019, 50 years after his father’s involvement in that step toward desegregation, Reed took the oath of office as mayor of the predominantly black city. He defeated David Woods, a white TV-station owner, by carrying 67% of the vote.

Reed told TIME, “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 prioritized public safety, quality healthcare for all and economic growth. Five years after the election, Mayor Reed has achieved another historic feat, becoming the president of the African American Mayors Association (AAMA).

First founded in 2014, AAMA provides black mayors with a platform to share ideas and advocate for their communities, BOTWC reported. While his priority as mayor of Montgomery is clear, he wants to tackle critical issues like gun violence, affordable housing, and educational disparities as president of AAMA. He has a deep understanding of the challenges his community faces and wants to provide data-driven solutions.

His upbringing in Alabama and his education at Morehouse College and Vanderbilt University have shaped Mayor Reed into a leader committed to progress. He is a role model for many young black Americans and has been at the forefront of fighting for an equitable society.

Prior to entering politics, Reed, who had gotten an M.B.A. from Vanderbilt, spent much of his career in the corporate world. He was also the owner of a Roly Poly Sandwiches shop in Montgomery.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: May 13, 2024


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