On this day in Alabama history: Ladies Memorial Association created

On this day in Alabama history: Ladies Memorial Association created
Three unidentified soldiers, 1861-1865. (Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)

April 16, 1866

On this day, a group of prominent Montgomery women gathered at the Court Street Methodist Church. Their discussion centered on the desperate need to improve conditions at cemeteries following the Civil War and to handle reburials of soldiers laid in hastily dug, shallow graves that had washed out and, in some cases, were plundered by vandals. The group formed the Ladies Society for the Burial of Deceased Alabama Soldiers but soon changed its name to the Ladies Memorial Association. Ten days later, the association held its first memorial ceremony at Oakwood Cemetery, decorating graves of both Southern and Northern soldiers. By May 1, the group had raised $1,000 to support 200 burials. Over several decades, the association continued its work. It also advocated for Confederate Memorial Day and helped raise funds for the Alabama Confederate Monument adjacent to the state Capitol. Similar associations were active across the South following the Civil War.

Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

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