The City of Montgomery, Alabama made history on Tuesday, October 8th by electing Probate Judge Steven L. Reed as the Civil Rights bastion’s first African-American mayor. Mayor-elect Reed is an active member and the Moderator of the Community Congregational United Church of Christ in Montgomery, which will host the Southeast Conference Annual Meeting in June 2020.
Mr. Reed was elected as Probate Judge of Montgomery County, Alabama in 2012. He became the first African American and youngest person ever elected to the county’s highest office. Since that time, he worked to improve mental health outcomes through court reform of the involuntary commitment process, solidify election integrity as a member of the National Government Coordinating Council, and uphold the rule of law by becoming the first Probate Judge in Alabama to perform same-sex marriages after dissension over a federal court ruling.
Reed blazed trails as the county’s first black judge and now will take the mayor’s office with an estimated 67 percent of the vote. Reed says he’s hopeful for the city’s future. “We’re excited,” the mayor-elect told reporters. “We’re ecstatic about turnout. We’re ecstatic about the vision we put forward for the city of Montgomery, excited about the future, we’re excited about our possibilities and what we can achieve together.”
In the two centuries since its founding, Alabama’s capital of Montgomery and the birthplace of the civil rights movement has never had a black mayor. Montgomery has historically been a hotbed for racial tension. Southern delegates gathered in Montgomery in 1861 to vote to form the Confederacy. The city is also home to the church where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. organized the Montgomery bus boycott, in which Rosa Parks became a symbol of the 1960s civil rights movement.