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The city of Montgomery is home to the Capitol of the state of Alabama. It is a city steeped in many significant periods in Alabama history, from early statehood to the Civil War to the civil rights movement to the modern era. In 1846, Montgomery, named for Revolutionary War hero Gen. Richard Montgomery, became the state capital and expanded rapidly. By the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, it wielded such power among secessionists that it was chosen as the initial capital of the new Confederate States of America. Reconstruction brought new opportunities for the city's free Black population, but in its aftermath, the city embraced harsh legal and cultural segregation. The two world wars brought significant change to the city's landscape and population, with the establishment of what would become Maxwell Air Force Base and Air University. By the 1950s, the city played pivotal roles in several significant civil rights events and nurtured many influential leaders. Montgomery's vibrant history and significance in state and national history is highlighted in its numerous cultural institutions.