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5 Fun Facts About March 31 In West Virginia History

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

1. In 1863, during the American Civil War, Union troops under General William Rosecrans occupied Charleston, the capital of West Virginia. This was a significant victory for the Union as it secured control of the Kanawha Valley.

2. On March 31, 1865, West Virginia became the first state in the United States to abolish slavery by amending its constitution. The amendment was adopted just two months before the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution, which abolished slavery nationwide.

3. In 1932, the Parkerburg Knights of Columbus held their first charity ball to raise funds for the construction of a new clubhouse. The event was a huge success and became an annual tradition, known as the St. Patrick's Day Charity Ball, that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for local charities over the years.

4. In 1973, the West Virginia Legislature passed the state's first comprehensive mine safety law, following a series of mining disasters that had claimed dozens of lives in the state in the previous years. The law established stricter safety standards for coal mines and increased penalties for violations.

5. In 2014, the West Virginia men's basketball team advanced to the Final Four of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament for the first time in school history. The team, led by head coach Bob Huggins and star player Juwan Staten, defeated top-seeded Gonzaga in the Sweet 16 before falling to Kentucky in the semifinals.
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