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5 Fun Facts About March 31 In Virginia History

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

1. In 1776, the Virginia Convention declared Virginia's independence from Great Britain, making it the first colony to do so. This pivotal moment in American history occurred at St. John's Church in Richmond, Virginia, where Patrick Henry famously declared, "Give me Liberty, or give me Death!"

2. On March 31, 1809, James Madison was inaugurated as the fourth President of the United States. Madison, who was born in Virginia and served as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, is often referred to as the "Father of the Constitution."

3. In 1865, the Virginia State Convention repealed the state's Ordinance of Secession, effectively ending its involvement in the Civil War. This decision was made just days before General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House.

4. On March 31, 1870, Virginia became the first southern state to be readmitted to the Union after the Civil War. This followed the ratification of the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which granted voting rights to African American men.

5. In 2005, the Virginia General Assembly designated March 31 as César Chávez Day in honor of the civil rights and labor leader who fought for the rights of farm workers. Chávez, who died in 1993, was born in Arizona but spent several years working in the fields of California before founding the United Farm Workers of America. Today, his legacy is celebrated not only in Virginia but across the country.
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