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5 Fun Facts About September 21 In Virginia History

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

1. In 1642, the Virginia House of Burgesses passed a law requiring church attendance on Sundays and certain religious holidays. This law reflected the religious fervor of the Virginia colonists, who had largely come to America for religious reasons.

2. On September 21, 1780, General Benedict Arnold betrayed the American cause by turning over the key fort of West Point to the British. Arnold had been a trusted leader in the Continental Army, but financial problems and perceived slights led him to switch sides.

3. The Battle of Chickamauga began on September 19, 1863, but it was on September 21 that Virginia native General James Longstreet arrived on the field with reinforcements. Longstreet's presence helped turn the tide of the battle in favor of the Confederates.

4. On September 21, 1901, President William McKinley died of his wounds sustained from an assassination attempt in Buffalo, New York. Virginia played a role in McKinley's story, as his Secretary of State John Hay was born and raised in Salem, Virginia.

5. In an effort to desegregate Virginia's schools, the state's first black students began attending previously all-white schools on September 21, 1959. Sixteen-year-old Barbara Johns led a student strike at her all-black high school in Farmville, Virginia, which helped pave the way for this historic victory for civil rights.
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