Richmond’s Leigh Street Armory & African American Militia


In 1895, the City of Richmond constructed the magnificent Leigh Street Armory for its African American militia. During Reconstruction, Virginia led the nation in establishing black militia units, and Richmond was the only city to build an armory for that use. These volunteer soldiers drilled and trained there, and many joined other volunteers to serve in the Spanish-American War. In 1899, the Leigh Street Armory ceased to serve its original function and became first a school and ultimately the home of the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia. Authors Roice Luke, Maureen Elgersman Lee and Stacy Burrs reveal the history of the Leigh Street Armory and its soldiers.

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