Thursday, April 29, 2010
First Capitol of the Confederacy - Montgomery, Alabama
Completed in 1851 atop the ruins of an earlier structure that had been destroyed by fire, the beautiful old structure was built in the Greek Revival style. Its remarkable interior spiral staircase was designed by Horace King, a former slave who had been given full freedom by Act of the Alabama State Legislature in recognition of his accomplishments as an engineer and builder.
When the Cotton States began to leave the Union in December of 1860 and January of 1861, Montgomery was selected as a central location for a meeting of delegates to decide on a common future. The convention started on February 4, 1861, in the Senate Chambers and the delegates quickly declared themselves to be the provisional legislature of the Confederate States of America.
Inside the historic building, the Confederate legislators drafted a constitution and undertook the work of establishing a new national government for the Southern states.
The Alabama State Capitol was occupied by Union troops at the end of the war, but like the nearby First White House of the Confederacy, somehow escaped the destruction visited on many other key Southern structures of the War Between the States.
During the 20th century, the building became a focal point of the Civil Rights Movement and was the backdrop for Martin Luther King, Jr.'s noted "How Long, Not Long" speech.
To learn more, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/montgomerycapitol1.