Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed recently received the National Mayor of the Year Award at the 123rd National Black Business Conference in Atlanta.

The National Business League, the National Black Chamber of Commerce and The World Conference of Mayors hosted the conference. The event featured 1,000 black businesses and professionals and a keynote speech by civil rights attorney Benjamin L. Crump.

"In everything we do, our goal is to foster a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion," Reed said. "This includes working to close the racial wealth gap by ensuring Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs have access to the capital, capacity and information necessary to not only sustain – but grow – their operations."

In a release, Reed's office touted his incentives for supporting black businesses, boasting a 300-plus percent increase in black-owned businesses participating in the municipal contract process.

"Through Mayor Reed's efforts, Montgomery has been heralded as a hub for Black entrepreneurs," the release stated. "The Black Information Network examined research compiled by and Overheard on Conference Calls and listed Montgomery as the second-best city in the nation for Black entrepreneurs to start or own a business. With 28.5% of businesses in Montgomery owned by African Americans, Alabama's Capital City leads all others listed in NerdWallet's research findings."

Previous recipients of the award could not be located on the internet or the respective websites of the hosts.

Reed wasn't the only Alabama face at the conference.

Montgomery native and civil rights attorney Fred David Gray received the Booker T. Washington Lifetime Achievement Award.

Former Tuskegee Mayor Johnny Ford also attended the conference, brandishing the teachings of the Nation of Islam to bolster black businesses.

"This conversation about Black business, that's what the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, as well as Minister Farrakhan, they believe in," Ford told The Final Call. "Black people supporting their own businesses, Black people governing their own businesses, Black people turning over the dollar in the Black community. We hope to accomplish all of that as a result of a conference like this," 

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