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5 Fun Facts About February 12 In Virginia History

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

1. In 1818, Virginia Governor James Patton Preston signed a bill establishing the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia, making it the first state-supported military college in the United States. Today, VMI remains an important institution of higher learning and a training ground for military leaders.

2. On February 12, 1862, the naval Battle of Elizabeth City took place during the American Civil War. The Confederate States Navy attempted to defend the North Carolina coast from Union Navy ships. The Union was victorious, and it marked a significant blow to the Confederacy's naval power.

3. In 1915, African-American inventor and businessman Garrett Morgan patented his version of the gas mask. His design, which included a hood and two tubes for breathing, was a significant improvement over earlier models and was later used by American soldiers in World War I.

4. On February 12, 1959, Virginia native Patsy Cline became the first female country singer to perform at New York City's Carnegie Hall. She was widely praised for her performance and it helped to elevate her already-successful career to new heights.

5. In 2001, the founding of Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia was announced in Richmond, Virginia. The institution, which seeks to preserve and celebrate the rich history and culture of African Americans in Virginia and beyond, opened its doors to the public in 2016.
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