Montgomery became the state capital in 1847 and boomed as a river port and cotton market. The city has been called the
Cradle of the Confederacy. In the capitol building (erected 1857) the convention met (Feb., 1861) that formed the Confederate States of America. Jefferson Davis was inaugurated president on the capitol steps, and the city served as the Confederate capital until the seat was moved to Richmond in May, 1861. The city was occupied by Union troops in the spring of 1865.
During the civil-rights movement in the 1950s and 60s, Montgomery was marked by demonstrations led by Martin Luther King, Jr., who was a minister there in the mid-1950s. In Dec., 1955, African Americans organized a nonviolent boycott of the segregated public bus system; by the following year a desegregation edict regarding public transportation was issued. Racial unrest ensued in the 1960s.
The city is the seat of Alabama State Univ., a campus of Auburn Univ., Southern Christian Univ., and Huntingdon College. Maxwell Air Force Base, adjoining the city on the northwest, and its Gunter Annex, on the northeast, are the home of Air Univ. In addition to the historic state capitol, points of interest in Montgomery include the
first White House of the Confederacy (built c.1825), preserved as a Confederate museum; a planetarium; a museum of fine arts; the state archives and history museum; many antebellum homes and buildings; the Civil Rights Memorial by Maya Lin; and the Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice and other civil rights museums.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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