Kurt's Historic Sites

Montgomery, Alabama capitol

Alabama

Admission to the UnionSequence in AdmissionSequence in Capitols I Have Visited
December 14, 181922nd admitted19th visited

Photographed June 10, 2013.

The first U.S. state alphabetically is Alabama. Admitted into the Union in 1819, its capital city has been Montgomery since 1846. The current state capitol building is of Greek Revival design and was constructed in the early 1850s. Like all other structures in Alabama, the capitol is situated on the native homeland of Indigenous Muscogee Creek Peoples. In 1834, the 20,000 Muscogee Creeks who remained in Alabama after white colonization and settlement were removed and forced to traverse the Trail of Tears to Indian Territory.

The capitol in Montgomery has been the setting for critical moments in U.S. history related to the treatment of Black Americans. On January 11, 1861, citing threats posed by President-elect Abraham Lincoln to those who held power in slaveholding states, the Alabama State Government passed an ordinance of secession. In the same building the following month, former U.S. Senator Jefferson Davis was elected provisional president of the Confederate States of America. He was sworn into office on the capitol’s portico nine days later on the spot where this gold star is now inlaid. The Confederacy moved its capital to Richmond a few months later, once Virginia seceded from the Union as well. A statue of Davis was erected in a prominent spot on the grounds in 1940. Sculptures of Confederate figures were erected in the Jim Crow segregation era predominantly to intimidate Black people.

Photographed June 10, 2013.
Photographed June 10, 2013.

In 1965, a century after the Civil War, the Alabama State Capitol was the final destination of the Selma-to-Montgomery March — a 54-mile sojourn that successfully pushed for the creation of a Voting Rights Act to prohibit racially-motivated voter discrimination. 25,000 protestors participated in the final stretch of the demonstration on March 25, 1965, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was among the orators who delivered an address when they reached the capitol.

The wondrous interior dome of the Alabama State Capitol. Though the governor has an office in the capitol, the Senate and House of Representatives meet in a totally separate state house building located across the street. Alabama is the only state whose legislature does not hold sessions in its capitol. There was controversy in spring 2020 when Alabama Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh briefly supported using $200 million in funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act to build a new statehouse (again, this capitol building would not have been replaced). The idea was soon scuttled.

Photographed June 10, 2013.

Sources Consulted

@kdgravehunter. “Alabama was admitted to the Union.” Instagram, December 14, 2020. Accessed February 14, 2022. https://www.instagram.com/p/CIx_bFign7S/.

“Alabama Ordinance of Secession.” January 11, 1861. From Ohio State University. Accessed February 14, 2022. https://ehistory.osu.edu/exhibitions/Regimental/alabama/confederate/secession.

Chandler, Kim. “Lawmaker: New Alabama Statehouse with COVID-19 cash should be discussed.” Associated Press. May 11, 2020. https://abc3340.com/news/coronavirus/lawmaker-new-alabama-statehouse-with-covid-19-cash-should-be-discussed.

Native Voices. “1834: Muscogee Creek are forced out of Alabama.” Accessed December 13, 2020. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/nativevoices/timeline/286.html.

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