Alabama's capital city of Montgomery, known as the birthplace of the civil rights movement, elected an African-American mayor Tuesday for the first time in the city’s nearly 200-year history.
Steven Reed, who became Montgomery County’s first African-American probate judge in 2012, won about 67 percent of the vote in a nonpartisan runoff election, according to unofficial results released Tuesday night.
Reed defeated David Woods, a white television station owner, after the two earned the most votes in a 12-person election in August, the New York Times reported. He will replace the current mayor of Montgomery, Todd Strange, who chose not to run for reelection after a decade in office, the Montgomery Advertiser reported. Reed will be sworn in Nov. 12.
"This election has never been about me," Reed said in his victory speech. "This election has never been about just my ideas. It's been about all the hopes and dreams we have as individuals and collectively in this city."
"Montgomery is a city with limitless potential, a city that has no limits outside of our imagination," Reed continued. "The only thing that can hold us back is our fears. When we come together there's nothing that we can't accomplish. "
In his concession speech, Woods said: “We’re just going to go forward and try to support Steven Reed as mayor. And I just want to encourage everyone to try to continue to work together to bring Montgomery as a unified city. A unified Montgomery is a lot stronger than a divided Montgomery.”
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.
Reed was endorsed by Democratic 2020 hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox, Montgomery's WSFA-TV reported. His father, Joe Reed, is the longtime leader of the black caucus of the Alabama Democratic Party.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.