Montgomery, Alabama: The Early Years
Montgomery, the capital city of Alabama, wasn’t always the bustling city it is today. It was once the home of Native Americans, and villages were spread out where buildings are today. In the early 1800s, three towns joined to form the city of Montgomery.
Montgomery didn’t become the state’s capital until 1846. As the Civil War was about to start, Alabama joined other southern states and seceded from the Union. In 1861, Montgomery became the capital of the Confederate States of America. The southern Confederacy fought against the northern Union during the Civil War from 1861 to 1865.
Montgomery and the Civil Rights Movement
Alabama was not allowed to keep slaves after the Confederacy lost the war. Even so, the state stayed segregated. This meant that white people and black people were separated from each other. During the 1950s and 60s, Montgomery became an important place where black Americans fought for equality.
On December 1, 1955, a black seamstress and civil rights activist named Rosa Parks was arrested because she would not give up her seat at the front of the bus to a white passenger. At the time, buses were segregated; blacks had to sit at the back, while whites could sit at the front. Parks’ arrest created anger among black locals, who refused to use the buses for 382 days. The city finally desegregated the buses on December 21, 1956, so that people could choose their own seats.
Interesting Facts and Places
- The First White House of the Confederacy is in Montgomery. Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, lived in the building.
- Old Alabama Town is a district that shows what it was like to live in the 19th
- Nearby is the Air University. It is the site where Wilbur and Orville Wright ran the world’s first flight training school in 1910. In 1903, the Wright brothers designed the first airplane.
- As of 2017, Montgomery’s population was 199,518.