February dates in Virginia history
February 2, 1959
Shortly after a federal panel of judges and the Virginia
Supreme Court ruled Massive Resistance unconstitutional, desegregation
begins as African American students, under heavy police protection,
enter previously all-white schools in Arlington and Norfolk.
February 3, 1882
Big Lick joins with Old Lick to form the town of Roanoke.
This name is taken from the Native American word for "shell money."
February 4, 1865
Lila Hardaway Meade Valentine is born. Most famous for
her work on educational reform and women's suffrage, she is the only
woman honored with a memorial in Virginia's State Capitol.
February 6, 1865
Jefferson Davis appoints General Robert E. Lee as
general-in-chief of all Confederate forces.
February 6, 1882
Anne Spencer, Harlem Renaissance poet, is born Annie
Bethel Bannister in Henry County.
February 6, 1993
Arthur Ashe, a native Richmonder, dies from HIV
complications stemming from a blood transfusion received during heart
surgery. Ashe was the first African American man to win Wimbledon and
devoted his life to educational and humanitarian causes after his tennis
February 9, 1864
One hundred and nine Union prisoners stage a dramatic
escape, tunneling out of Richmond's Libby Prison. Confederate forces
recapture nearly half the escapees while others evade the Confederates
with the assistance of Union spy and Richmonder, Elizabeth Van Lew.
February 15, 1934
While performing at Harlem's Apollo Theater, Ella
Fitzgerald, a native of Newport News, is discovered by a talent scout.
This leads to an engagement at the Savoy Club, where she records her
first record, "Love and Kisses."
February 17, 1882
Virginia governor William Cameron sets off with two
steamers on a campaign to capture "foreign," or non-Virginia, oyster men
conducting illegal dredging in the Chesapeake Bay. After firing shots,
Cameron and his followers capture seven oyster boats, only one of which
is not Virginian. The incident, which involved no fatalities, became
known as the Oyster War of 1882.
February 20, 1960
A group of Virginia Union University students walks into
Woolworth's department store, fills the thirty-four seats at the lunch
counter, and patiently waits to be served in one of Virginia's first
sit-ins. Rather than serve the protestors, management closed the
February 22, 1732
George Washington, first president of the United States
and commander of the Continental Army during the American Revolution, is
born in Wakefield, Westmoreland County.
February 22, 1960
In the first mass arrest of the Civil Rights Movement,
more than thirty-five students from Virginia Union University are taken
into custody during a protest at Thalhimer's department store.
February 24, 1803
In Marbury v. Madison, Chief Justice John Marshall
establishes the Supreme Court's right to apply judicial review and
determine the constitutionality of laws passed by Congress.
February 25, 1933
Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company launches
the nation's first aircraft carrier, the USS Ranger.
• View dates in other months