Steven Reed sworn in as mayor of Montgomery
MONTGOMERY — Steven L. Reed on Tuesday morning was sworn in as the City of Montgomery’s 57th mayor.
An exuberant crowd packed the Montgomery Performing Arts Center to view the historic occasion firsthand, as Reed is now the first black mayor of Alabama’s capital city.
The momentous occasion was a theme in Reed’s inaugural address, as he repeatedly made references to Montgomery’s status as the cradle of the Confederacy and birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement.
Whether it be the slave trade’s former prominence in the city or the fact that his parents could still not eat in whites-only restaurants when they came to town, Reed made it clear Montgomery has come a long way.
However, he emphasized that the way to look is forward — for continued progress and greater prosperity.
“When your memories are bigger than your dreams, you’re in big trouble,” Reed said. “There are no chains on our imaginations.”
He also stressed a continued need for unity — across socioeconomic, racial and religious lines.
“What we can never be again is a divided Montgomery,” the mayor proclaimed.
Outlining that the city is at the intersection of history and possibility, he advised that Montgomery faces a lot of very real challenges. He said that it might not happen quickly but that solutions were on the way to create safer neighborhoods, better classrooms and further opportunities for all.
Reed mentioned laying more fiber, investing in pre-k, focusing on workforce development and paying teachers more as key priorities.
He shared his vision for Montgomery as “a New South capital for all,” in which all — not just the few — are able to thrive.
— Sean Ross (@sean_yhn) November 12, 2019
Reed’s speech came after his father, Dr. Joe Reed, gave “brief” remarks.
Dr. Reed’s first piece of advice to his son was: “Keep God in the forefront.”
He urged the new mayor to not be afraid to pray for guidance or ask others to pray for him.
The inauguration ceremony came during a special meeting of the Montgomery City Council.
After the entire council was sworn in, the members reelected Charles Jinright as council president and Tracy Larkin as council president pro tem.
Reed was sworn in by U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson of the Middle District of Alabama.
You can view a video of the proceedings and remarks from both Reeds here.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn