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5 Fun Facts About January 14 In Virginia History

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

1. In 1786, the Virginia Assembly passed the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, which was written by Thomas Jefferson. This landmark law established the principle of religious liberty and separation of church and state in Virginia, and served as a model for the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

2. In 1861, Virginia seceded from the United States and joined the Confederacy, sparking the American Civil War. The state played a major role in the conflict, with many of the war's key battles and campaigns taking place on Virginia soil.

3. On January 14, 1891, the Virginia General Assembly established the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg as a university, making it the oldest institution of higher education in Virginia and the second-oldest in the United States.

4. In 1954, the Supreme Court issued its landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, which struck down the "separate but equal" doctrine that had allowed for racial segregation in public schools. The case originated in Topeka, Kansas, but had significant ramifications for schools in Virginia and other southern states.

5. In 2021, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam declared January 14 as a state holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The holiday will be known as "Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service" and will encourage Virginians to engage in community service and volunteer work in King's spirit of nonviolence and social justice.
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