William Armistead "Tacky" Gayle, Jr. (March 5, 1896 – July 5, 1965) was an American politician for the Democratic Party,[1] soldier and author who was the mayor of Montgomery, Alabama, from 1951 to 1959.

W. A. Gayle
Mayor of Montgomery, Alabama
In office
Preceded byJohn L. Goodwyn
Succeeded byEarl D. James
Personal details
Born(1896-03-05)March 5, 1896
Montgomery, Alabama
DiedJuly 5, 1965(1965-07-05) (aged 69)
Montgomery, Alabama
Spouse(s)Katharine Anderson
OccupationSoldier, author
AwardsBronze Star
Military service
Branch/serviceUnited States Navy
United States Army Air Forces
Battles/warsWorld War I, World War II

Gayle was born in 1896, the son of William A. and Mary (née Winn) Gayle. He served during World War I in the United States Navy, having attended the United States Naval Academy. He later attended the University of Alabama from 1915 to 1916. After the war, he worked for the Anderson Coal Company as a manager. Gayle, who held the rank of Brigadier General, was appointed by Governor Bibb Graves on April 2, 1935 to serve as Adjutant General of Alabama. He previously served as Assistant Adjutant General in Graves' administration.[2] He resigned on October 1, 1935 to become commissioner of Montgomery, Alabama.[3]

During World War II, Gayle returned to active duty, serving in the United States Army Air Forces. After the war, he would continue to serve in the Alabama National Guard.[4] He served as public works commissioner of the City of Montgomery when he was elected as mayor in 1951.[5] Gayle served as Mayor of Montgomery from 1951 to 1959. The Montgomery Bus Boycott occurred during his term as mayor from 1955 to 1956. He was named the defendant of the Browder v. Gayle federal court case that ended the boycott and racial segregation on the buses in Montgomery.[4][6] Gayle died on July 5, 1965. The W. A. Gayle Planetarium in Montgomery's Oak Park is named in his honor.[7]


  1. ^ "Mayors of U.S. Cities: Montgomery".
  2. ^ "The Tuscaloosa News - Google News Archive Search". google.com.
  3. ^ "The Tuscaloosa News - Google News Archive Search". google.com.
  4. ^ a b "Alabama Authors » Blog Archive » GAYLE, WILLIAM ARMISTEAD, JR., 1896-1965". ua.edu.
  5. ^ "From Civil War to Civil Rights--Alabama, 1860-1960". google.ca.
  6. ^ "Journey Toward Justice". google.ca.
  7. ^ "Montgomery Botanical Gardens About page".