Politicians Celebrate Montgomery, Alabama, For Electing Its First Black Mayor

Former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum praised Steven Reed's win on Twitter: "The South continues to transform itself."

Prominent politicians and others are tweeting their celebration of Steven Reed, who was elected on Tuesday to become the first Black mayor of Montgomery, Alabama.

In November, Reed will be sworn into office in a city that is known as both “the cradle of the Confederacy” and the birthplace of the civil rights movement. He won a runoff election against TV station owner David Woods, who is white. 

Former Tallahassee, Florida, Mayor Andrew Gillum quickly recognized Reed’s historic accomplishment on Twitter. Gillum made history in his own state last year, becoming the first Black nominee for governor in Florida’s history.

“The South continues to transform itself, one day at a time,” Gillum wrote on Tuesday. “Today we celebrate a capable & committed leader, who’ll just so happen [to] become the first Black Mayor in Montgomery’s history. Congratulations Mayor-elect, @stevenlouisreed!!! Onward.”

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a Democratic candidate for president, congratulated Reed on Wednesday. 

“Congratulations, Mayor-elect @stevenlouisreed!” he wrote. “A historic first for Montgomery, and a hopeful step forward for everyone working to further the movement that crystalized in your city nearly half a century ago.”

Reed won 67% of the vote in the runoff, according to unofficial returns. He will replace current Mayor Todd Strange, who did not seek reelection. 

The mayor-elect ― a graduate of Morehouse College, a historically Black men’s college, and Vanderbilt University, where he earned an MBA ― has made political history in Alabama before. He became Montgomery County’s first Black probate judge when he was elected to office in 2012.

Montgomery, the state’s capital, was the site of a number of key moments in the civil rights movement. It was home to the historic 1955-1956 bus boycott, famously sparked by Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat for a white man. It served as the destination of the 1965 marches from Selma, Alabama, which protested discriminatory voting practices that disenfranchised Black voters. 

Ava DuVernay, who directed the acclaimed 2014 movie “Selma” ― which looks at Martin Luther King Jr.’s role in those historic marches ― weighed in on Reed’s election on Wednesday. 

“I love Montgomery,” she wrote on Twitter. “Some of my best memories in life happened there. With my family. And my father. He’d be so proud of this election outcome. A new era for The Gump. Congrats, Mayor Reed!” 

And celebratory messages for Reed from other Democratic politicians running for president continued to pour in:

On Wednesday, Reed tweeted his gratitude to “everyone who voted” in the runoff election. 

“I’m grateful for the support we received from so many people who believe we can have a brighter future for our city, state, & country,” he wrote. “I’m honored to be your next Mayor of Montgomery, AL.”