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Montgomery, Alabama, elects its first black mayor, unofficial results show

11 October 2019

Montgomery, the capital of the southern US state of Alabama, known as the birthplace of the civil rights movement for its 1950s bus boycotts over segregated seating, has elected the first black mayor in its 200-year history. This election has never about just my ideas. "Tonight sent a signal, not just to all of us here in Montgomery, all of us in Alabama, it sent a signal throughout this country about what kind of community we are right now, not what we were".

The 45-year-old is expected to be sworn in at Montgomery City Hall in November.

Reed, who was also the first black probate judge elected in Montgomery, took 67 percent of the votes in a nonpartisan runoff election against David Woods, owner of the local Fox affiliate. The city's fight against white supremacist terror gained national attention on Dec 1, 1955, when veteran organizer and activist Rosa Parks refused to give up a seat to a white man, which would be the official beginning of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

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Reed will replace current Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange, who has served since 2009 and did not seek reelection.

"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 as he waited for returns.

Reed was already the first black probate judge elected in Montgomery County and was one of the first to issue marriage licenses to gay couples in the state.

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His father, Joe Reed, has been the long-time leader of the black caucus of Alabama's Democratic Party.

More than half of Montgomery's population is black and the city is commonly known as the birthplace of America's civil rights movement.

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This story was reported by Reuters.

Montgomery, Alabama, elects its first black mayor, unofficial results show