Beyond being the capital of Alabama, Montgomery is also the hometown of historic Civil Rights Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And there is still more to the city. Check out these nine things to do when you want to explore the history surrounding Montgomery, and Maxwell Air Force Base.
National Memorial for Peace and Justice
The National Memorial for Peace and Justice was opened to the public on April 26, 2018. It is the nation’s first memorial dedicated to the legacy of enslaved black people, people terrorized by lynching, African Americans humiliated by racial segregation and Jim Crow laws, and people of color burdened with the contemporary presumption of guilt and police violence. The Memorial was conceived with the hope of creating a somber, meaningful site where people can gather and reflect on America’s history of racial inequality. It gets predominantly five-star reviews on various websites giving praise to telling a hard, but important story. Museum and Memorial Tickets are $10 per person.
Dexter Parsonage Museum
The Dexter Parsonage Museum was the home to Dr. King and his young family from 1954 to 1960. It was the historic home to twelve pastors of the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church from 1920-1992. The house has been restored to its appearance when Dr. King and his family lived there, including much of the original furniture used by the King family. Besides going on tours of the home there is also an interpretive center and the King-Johns garden for reflection. Admission is free. Reservations for tours are recommended.
Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church
Along with the museum, the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church is a National Historic Landmark. It is the church where Dr. Martin Luther King preached from and also was the center point for the Montgomery bus boycott. With the church is a large mural depicting King’s Civil Rights crusade from Montgomery to Memphis. Tours are available Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is free. Reservations for tours are recommended.
Civil Rights Memorial
The Civil Rights Memorial was designed by the Vietnam Veteran Memorial designer Maya Lin. The Memorial is located adjacent to the Civil Rights Memorial Center across from the Southern Poverty Law Center’s offices building. It is a circular black granite table recording the names of those who lost their lives in the Civil Rights movement. It is a place where you can learn about the history of the Civil Rights movement and honor those who lost their lives. Admission is free.
The F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum
Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald only lived in this house for a year, but it is now is a museum set up to remember their contributions. Zelda Fitzgerald grew up in Montgomery and after her husband’s death returned home to live with her mother. The museum is full of artifacts and information showcasing the life of the Fitzgeralds. All those who love literary history will enjoy their tour. Admission is $10 per person.
Hank Williams Memorial
Fans of Hank Williams will enjoy a tour of the Hank Williams Museum. In the 6,000 sq ft museum, you can see Hank’s 1952 Baby Blue Cadillac along with boots, hats, ties, awards, furniture, horse saddles, portraits, records, albums and more. You can also visit his grave at the Oakwood Annex Cemetery. Museum admission is $10 per person.
First White House of the Confederacy
From February to May 1861 this location was the Executive Residency of President Jefferson Davis and his family for the Confederacy. In May of 1861, the Confederacy capital was moved to Richmond, Virginia. It is completely furnished with original pieces from the 1850s and 1860s. There are also many personal items of President and Mrs. Davis. It is a house museum which tells three stories. What happened during the Spring of 1861, the story of Jefferson Davis, and the story of the preservation of the house. Admission is free.
Alabama State Capitol
The Alabama State Capitol building was completed in 1851. The Confederacy was formed in the Senate chamber and the Selma to Montgomery 1965 Voting Rights March ended on the street in front of the building. It is a place full of history and is still the building that houses the state government of Alabama. Guided tours are offered for groups larger than 15 with an appointment or on Saturdays at 9, 11, 1 and 3. Admission is free.
Old Town Alabama
The Village of Old Town Alabama doesn’t have any newly constructed buildings. Instead, it is a step back in time to completely authentic 19th and early 20th century homes and villages. These buildings have been saved from demolition, carefully restored, and are once again open to the public as a historic museum. When you come to Old Town Alabama you will learn how early Americans of all backgrounds lived and worked in Central Alabama. There is a $10 per person fee to visit the site.
Have you taken the time to check out the history in Montgomery, Alabama? What was your favorite place to visit and what did you learn in the process of exploring Montgomery Alabama’s rich history?
Written by: Amanda Huffman