Virginia Union University

Virginia Union University (HM2247)

Location: Richmond, VA 23220
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Country: United States of America
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N 37° 33.709', W 77° 27.011'

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"Creating a Bridge to Intellectual Freedom Through Its Distinguished Alumni"

—1865 —

In Apri of 1865, the American Baptist Home Mission Society (ABHMS) sends teaches and missionaries to Richmond, VA to educate newly freed slaves and the work of Richmond Theological School for Freedmen begins.

Classes are held in several small locations throughout Richmond until the first organized school is created in Lumpkins Jail, a former slave jail and auction complex.

Also in 1865, ABHMS forms Wayland Seminary in Washington , D.C. Notable alumni include Dr. Adam Clayton Powell, Sr., and Booker T. Washington.

In 1870, Richmond Theological moves to United States Hotel, on the corner of 19th and Main streets in Richmond, where it stays for nearly 30 years.

In 1899, Richmond Theological and Wayland Seminary merge to form Virginia Union University and construction of Nine Noble buildings begins on Lombardy Street, then known as "Sheep Hill". The "Nine Noble Buildings" include: Coburn Hall, Pickford Hall, Kingsley Hall, Martin E. Gray Hall, Baptist Memorial Building, Porter
Cottage, Industrial Building, Power Plant, The Barn.

Hartshorn Memorial College merges with Virginia Union in 1932, transforming the University into a significant co-ed institution. Hartshorn is the first black women's college in the country to offer bachelor's degrees and receives its charter in March of 1884. Located on the corner of Leigh and Lombardy Streets, it offers both college preparatory and collegiate courses. Tuition is $1.00 per month.

Following completion of the 1939 World's Fair in New York, Virginia Union is awarded the Belgian Pavilion from that country's exhibit. The building is taken apart and transported to Richmond where it is reassembled as the Belgian Friendship Building. Fundraising to finance these efforts is spearheaded by Dr. John Malcus Ellison, the first African American and VUU alumnus to become president of the University. In 1942, Dr. Ellison initiates the Graduate School of Religion.

On February 22, 1960, nearly 200 Virginia Union students march from campus to downtown Richmond to protest segregated lunch counters at
Thalhimer's Department Store. Thirty-four students are arrested and become known as the "Richmond 34." Other prominent VUU activists during this period include Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker, Congressman Walter Fauntroy, Attorney Randall Robinson, and Charles Sherrod.

In 1964, Storer College, the first institution of higher education for African Americans in West Virginia, merges with Virginia Union. Storer awarded its first degrees in 1942, but closed in 1955 due to loss of funding after the Brown v. Board of Education decision ended legal segregation.

On February 13, 1997, the L. Douglas Wilder Library and Learning Resource Center is dedicated. The building honors Virginia Union alumnus L. Douglas Wilder, the country's first elected African American governor.

Virginia Union University "Creating a bridge to intellectual freedom through its distinguished alumni..." 22 college presidents · First African American admiral in the U.S. Navy · Teachers of the Year · First president of Nigeria · First female senator of the Bahamas · First
African American mayor of Richmond · First African American state senator · First African American in Virginia House of Delegates · Deputy director, National Science Foundation · Deputy Director, National Institutes of Health · Chairman and President, National Medical Association · and the accomplishments continue . . .
HM NumberHM2247
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, October 15th, 2017 at 10:01am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 283589 N 4160021
Decimal Degrees37.56181667, -77.45018333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 33.709', W 77° 27.011'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 33' 42.54" N, 77° 27' 0.65999999999995" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)804
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling South
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1500 N Lombardy St, Richmond VA 23220, US
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