Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Montgomery, Alabama: State Capitol

The Alabama State Capitol has some interesting history attached to it. It also has some surprises concerning the present day.

The building and the grounds are rather typical as these things go. The Capitol is up on a hill, and the front steps have an impressive view of Dexter Ave. in Montgomery.

The building will always be associated with the Confederate States of America. Jefferson Davis was elected President of the CSA in this building, and he was sworn in on these steps. A small marker has been placed on those steps to show where Davis stood when he took the oath of office.

Outside of the building, there are a few statues - one is of Davis, another of James Marion Sims who is considered the father of gynecology. A Confederate Memorial is on the grounds, but in 2015 the Governor ordered that Confederate flags be taken down. They were becoming something of a, um, distraction.

In the early 1980s, the two legislative houses moved into their own building across the street. The building was remodeled and opened as a tourist attraction more than a decade later. The Governor and his staff are still in the Capitol, but it all seems a little empty without having some lawmakers around.

By the way, those steps of the Capitol are also where the famous 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery took place. More on that in another section of this blog. But it seems appropriate to have part of Dr. Martin Luther King's speech on those steps available here.

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