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History of Montgomery, Alabama

Montgomery, the second largest city in Alabama, lies southeast of Birmingham on Interstate 65, on the banks of the Alabama River. Montgomery is the state capital and has a number of connections with the Civil Rights movement. Between 1817 and 1819, three towns were established close together in Alabama: New Philadelphia, Alabama Town, and East Alabama. In 1819, they were consolidated into Montgomery, named for General Richard Montgomery, who died in the Revolutionary War attempting to capture Quebec. Montgomery gained status as a city in 1837 and was named the state's capital in 1846. In 1861, the convention that created the Confederate States of America was held in Montgomery. The city served as the first capital of the Confederacy, until it was moved to Richmond, Virginia. Montgomery is close to Maxwell Air Force Base, presently the home of Air University. Maxwell AFB is on the site where Wilbur and Orville Wright operated the world's first flight training school in 1910. On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks, a black seamstress, was arrested for not relinquishing her seat to a white bus rider. The reaction to this act of defiance led to the 382-day Montgomery bus boycott that forced the city to desegregate its transit system on December 21, 1956. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., an American Nobel Laureate, achieved national attention for civil rights issues during his occupancy term as pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. In 1965, he led a four-day, nationally-publicized march for justice from Selma to Montgomery.