The Montgomery Advertiser reported the event drew men, women and children decked out in Civil War-era clothes, and featured cannon shots, speeches and the inauguration re-enactment. The event was organized by the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
The crowd cheered the speakers who said the Confederacy was born under the precept of government for the people and by the people. They also responded enthusiastically when one speaker exclaimed “Long live Dixie!”
“We tried to recreate it as close as we could. We wanted to give people a glimpse into history,” Charles Rand, adjutant in chief of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, told the newspaper.
Kelley Barrow, lieutenant commander in chief of the organization, said while civil rights activist Rosa Parks is revered by many for moving from the back of the bus to the front, the “people of the Confederacy have been forced to the back of the bus.”
Fifty years ago, in 1961, there was a weeklong celebration attended by thousands of people, including three governors of southern states. There were huge parades, children’s events, daily pageants and beauty contests.
This time around, however, elected politicians were expected to be scarce. Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange told the Los Angeles Times he would probably not be at the re-enactment. Alabama’s governor, Robert Bentley, did not respond to the newspaper with word on his plans.
The area around the statehouse is rich in history. Plaques mark the site of Montgomery’s pre-Civil War slave market and the bus stop where Parks began her famously interrupted bus ride.