Richmond has been the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia since 1780. It was here during the American Revolution that patriot Patrick Henry gave his famous 'Give me Liberty, or give me Death!' speech. But Richmond is most notable for serving as the capital of the secessionist Confederate States of America during the Civil War from 1861 to 1865. Ironically, Richmond is now an ethnically diverse city, with a vibrant African American community. Of course, the attractive veneer of diversity cracks soon enough into ugly income disparities; most African American neighborhoods seem depressed compared with upmarket areas on the East and West ends of the center. This town also grapples with memorializing its controversial history. But in the end Richmond is a welcoming, warm traditional Southern city that is slowly being absorbed into the international milieu of the Northeast Corridor.