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All Skate, Richmond!

The allure of skating – gliding free from gravity – is undeniable. Ice skating is so old that historians are unsure when it was even invented. Some believe it existed as early as 1,000 BC, in Scandinavia, where it would have been…

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Tribute to a World War II Veteran

In his short life, Richmond native Clemenceau “Clem” McAdoo Givings found a vocation he was seemingly born for and helped reshape the U.S. Armed Forces.  When World War II broke out in 1939, the military – like most of American…

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How and Where the Family Fun Started!

Richmond’s first organized fair occurred in 1854. The fairgrounds were built Monroe Park, the first city park, which was established just three years before. This first affair was mainly a livestock exhibition hosted by the Virginia State Agricultural Society. The social…

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Richmond’s Civil Rights Icon

Fifteen years before Rosa Parks sparked the modern Civil Rights movement, a young Black lawyer opened a law practice in Richmond. Born in this city in 1907, Oliver Hill had grown up in Jim Crow Virginia, attended Howard University Law School,…

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Roots of an Entertainment Venue

In 1886, the Shriners – also known as the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine – established a Richmond chapter called Acca Temple. A secret society not unlike the Masons, the Shriners embraced Orientalism, an aesthetic…

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Destroying a Community to Build a Road

After World War II, the federal GI Bill prompted a vast suburban expansion across the nation. Here in our region, cheap, subsidized tract housing lured many white Richmonders from the city to the suburbs.  Compounding that, the threat of desegregation…

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Refugees from Nazi Germany

After seizing power in Germany in 1933, the Nazis instituted a slew of anti-Jewish decrees designed to remove Jews from economic and social life. By 1935, with the passage of the Nuremberg Race Laws and the Law for the Protection…

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Separate and Unequal Education

The Virginia Constitution of 1869 established a statewide system of free public schools. The schools evolved in the 1900s with both Jim Crow restrictions and Progressive Era reforms. Even progressive movements, though, were rife with racism, and Black activists rarely had a seat at the table. Reforms were directed to segregated white schools first. Beginning in…

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Let’s Go to the Beach!

The resort area of Virginia Beach became an incorporated town in 1906, but travelers had gravitated to the beach since electrification and rail service arrived in the late 1880s. In 1887, developers built the Princess Anne Hotel, an oceanfront property…

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