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5 Fun Facts About April 17 In Virginia History

---Learn Every Day: VA Today In History Facts Texted Each Day - Text: history va To: 618-270-4005---

1. In 1861, Virginia seceded from the Union, becoming the eighth state to do so. The decision came after the Confederacy was formed and tensions between the North and South were running high. The move led to Virginia becoming a major battleground during the Civil War.

2. In 1732, Lucy Terry, a slave living in Deerfield, Massachusetts, presented an argument to the justices of the peace that her daughter should be allowed to attend the local school. This is considered the first known instance in America of a black person challenging segregation in education.

3. In 1951, the Virginia State Penitentiary in Richmond was the site of a historic escape attempt. Seven inmates managed to break out of their cells and start a riot, resulting in the deaths of several guards and prisoners. The event spurred changes in the state's prison system.

4. In 1862, Confederate General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson launched a surprise attack on Union forces in Virginia, beginning the Battle of McDowell. Though outnumbered, Jackson's forces were able to hold the high ground and ultimately win the battle.

5. In 1971, Virginia became the first state to lower the voting age to 18, in response to widespread protests against the Vietnam War. The United States would follow suit the following year, with the passage of the 26th Amendment.
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