"In the Beginning, all America was Virginia."
William Byrd II
Next event
Featured Promotion

Learn more about items related to commencement exercises in the VHS collections.

Van de Vyver Institute Diploma

April

April 2, 1865
Robert E. Lee orders the evacuation of the city of Richmond, and Union forces occupy the Confederate capital the next day.

April 3, 1950
Carter G. Woodson, native of Buckingham County and "Father of Black History," dies at the age of seventy-four. Woodson's achievements include publishing the Journal for Negro History and the creation of Negro History Week, now known as Black History Month.

April 4, 1865
President Abraham Lincoln tours Richmond with his son Tad just after Union troops occupy the former Confederate capital.

April 4, 1927
A grand opening ceremony is held for the Cavalier Hotel in Virginia Beach. It becomes a landmark, drawing vacationers from around the country.

April 6, 1917
Under President Woodrow Wilson, a Virginia native, the United States declares war on Germany and enters World War I.

April 9, 1865
Robert E. Lee surrenders the Army of Northern Virginia to Union general Ulysses S. Grant at the McLean farm house at Appomattox Court House, essentially ending the Civil War.

April 13, 1743
The third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, is born at Shadwell in Albemarle County.

April 15, 1964
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel opens, linking the Eastern Shore with mainland Virginia. The tunnel takes three and a half years to complete.

April 16, 2007
32 people were killed and another 17 wounded by Virginia Tech student Seung-Hui Cho during the Virginia Tech massacre on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia. The massacre was one of the deadliest school shootings by a single gunman in history.

April 17, 1861
Prompted by the April 12 attack on Fort Sumter and President Lincoln's call for troops, Virginia's convention votes to secede.

April 18, 1644
More than 500 settlers are killed in the second major Powhatan uprising. This event touched off a two-year war between Native Americans and the colonists, ending in the capture and execution of Powhatan chief Opechancanough.

April 18, 1780
As more of Virginia's population moves west, Richmond replaces Williamsburg as the state capital. The central location of Richmond provides better routes for commerce and isolates it better from attacks by the English.

April 22, 1875
Ellen Glasgow, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, is born in Richmond.

April 23, 1951
Students at all-black Robert Russa Moton High School in Prince Edward County stage a walk out and two-week strike to protest the conditions at their school. The resulting NAACP lawsuit, Davis v. Prince Edward County, is included as a part of the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case that was decided in 1954.

April 25, 1775
The House of Burgesses protests Governor Dunmore's removal of fifteen barrels of gunpowder from Williamsburg's powder magazine.

April 25, 1917
Ella Fitzgerald, American jazz icon, is born in Newport News.

April 26, 1607
Three shiploads of English settlers arrive on the shore of present-day Virginia. The settlement of Jamestown is founded less than three weeks later. Sent by the Virginia Company of London, the colonists arrive hoping to find gold and other valuable resources.

April, 29 1963
In its Johnson v. Virginia decision, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that racial segregation in courtrooms is unconstitutional.

April 30, 1774
White settlers kill nine unarmed family members of the Mingo chief, Logan, on the western side of the Ohio River. Logan vows revenge, killing between thirteen and thirty settlers the following summer. This violence helped precipitate the conflict known as Lord Dunmore's War.