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5 Fun Facts About January 31 In Virginia History

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1. On January 31, 1865, the Confederate Congress passed a bill authorizing the enlistment of enslaved African Americans as soldiers in the Confederate Army. This was a last-ditch effort to boost the Confederacy's military forces as they faced defeat in the Civil War.

2. In 1928, on January 31, Virginia Woolf’s classic novel, To the Lighthouse, was first published in the UK. The novel is considered a masterpiece of modernist literature, and is known for its experimental narrative style and themes of memory, time, and perception.

3. Janis Joplin, one of the most iconic rock musicians of the 1960s, performed at the Hampton Roads Coliseum in Virginia on January 31, 1970. This was just one stop on her legendary tour with the Kozmic Blues Band, during which she wowed audiences with her powerful, soulful voice and raw energy.

4. January 31, 1986 marked the tragic end to the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, which claimed the lives of all seven astronauts aboard. Among the crew was Virginia native and NASA payload specialist, Ronald McNair, who became the second African American astronaut to fly in space.

5. On January 31, 2010, the Richmond Symphony Orchestra performed a historic concert at the Virginia State Capitol in honor of the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. The performance included works by African American composers, as well as the premiere of a new composition by acclaimed Virginia composer, Adolphus Hailstork.
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