The city of Prichard, Alabama, has gained national attention due to a social media post, going viral, of a candidate seeking to become the city’s next mayor. The city has over 21,000 residents with a poverty rate of 35% with a median household income of $26,000. The candidate’s goal is to increase the wealth and buying power of the city’s African-American residents who are 89% of the population.
Reginald Davis, or Mr. Autobahn as he is known on the streets of Prichard, is an Army veteran who proudly served Americans for 13 years. He strongly believes that more young men should join the armed services as a way of growing, getting an education and earning a salary with full benefits. More importantly they learn about independence.
“I got married on March 4th and started bootcamp on March 6th, the woman I was married to motivated me to become a more solid person,” Davis told 2UrbanGirls.
The Army is where Davis honed his skills and obtained both a Bachelor’s and Masters Degree to further his business endeavors. He retired from service at the age of 37.
“Soldiers elected President Obama because we served multiple tours under Bush and we were tired of being away from our family,” said Davis. “When I came home the first thing I did was go back to Pritchard and use money I saved to purchase 21 acres of land.”
While serving Davis learned valuable job and life skills that he is proud of. Recalling something as simple as cutting food with a fork AND knife, that he hadn’t done before he entered the military. He attributes much of his success by learning from watching others.
Davis is also a proud supporter of President Donald Trump due to African-American’s prosperity under his administration.
“Trump is the best thing to happen to Black people since Lincoln because cut the check for Black people,” said Davis. “I voted for Trump because I want to be rich like Republicans.”
After purchasing his 21 acres, he set about getting the city to change the zoning to create a business district. Upon final approval, the city denied him the ability to develop his land into a go-kart track.
“I want to have the first Black Business District in the state of Alabama and city with all Black leaders turned me down,” explained Davis. “Trump should come down here and play a game of golf with me and discuss how to change the economics of Pritchard.” The next major city over is Mobile, Alabama, which sits along the Gulf of Mexico.
Because of his encounter with the current elected officials it inspired him to run for mayor to bring about change the city so desperately needs.
“I am not ghetto, ghetto is a slanderous word to describe black people”, said Davis. “Why is it ghetto when you get emotional about things that matter to you?”
He is emotional about Black people owning their own which is the platform for his candidacy.
“I want the people of Prichard to invest in themselves,” said Davis. “I want to form a corporation where we are ALL shareholders and invest $100 per month over a two year period and we buy and invest in our city and earn money through dividends and profit sharing.”
Davis felt derailed when he got into a public battle, with one of his challengers for the mayor’s office, named Quinn Austin-Pugh used Davis’ image and rap lyrics to sway voters. His video talking to “Q” is what went viral.
“Q has no business in politics, I believe he is put in the campaign by the city’s Water Board,” said Davis. “He took a flyer from one of my rap songs and put statements on there that was texted out to the city’s senior citizens who are the largest voting group.” Davis questioned how someone would have access to technology and access to the seniors phone numbers who is currently un-employed.
He is also concerned that under Black leadership the city continues to be stagnant. He shares that if he wants to take his girlfriend to dinner, they can’t in Prichard, they have to drive to Mobile.
“Why can’t we have nice places to eat and socialize at in our own city,” asked Davis. “That’s why I couldn’t understand why my proposal to develop my land was rejected.” He feels the best way to bring about change to your community is to invest in your community and change the stereotypes of Black men.
“I want Black men to know its honorable to go into the military and become a member of law enforcement,” said Davis. “These are stable and respectable jobs that the community needs: leadership and law and order.” Which is where he and Trump differed.
“I think Trump’s position on Black Lives Matter should’ve been more sympathetic and to use the highest office in the nation to provoke change,” said Davis. “But I would still vote for him today.”
Davis hopes to win but his plan to build the city’s economic wealth isn’t necessarily predicated on his becoming mayor.
“I really appreciate you contacting me all the way from Inglewood, CA, to find out about the real me and not the person that social media is making me out to be,” said Davis. “I’m not ghetto, I’m an educated Black man who is trying to better my community. I have three children and I am trying to build a legacy for them.”
His motto is simple: let’s keep people over politics and make America FAIR.