Richmond Spotlight

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Famous Folks

Famous Citizens Throughout the Richmond Region's History

From Founding Fathers to football stars, the Historic Richmond Region has seen its share of famous folks. Here's a sampling of some you might recognize:

Historical Figures

Thomas Jefferson designed the Virginia State Capitol.
John Marshall was the longest serving Chief Justice in Supreme Court history.
Patrick Henry's first great case, "The Parson's Cause", was at Hanover Courthouse, he lived and worked at Hanover Tavern, delivered his "give me liberty or give me death" speech at St. John's Church and lived at Scotchtown.
Pocahontas lived at what is known today as Henricus Historical Park.
Maggie L. Walker was the first African-American female founder and president of a bank.
Oliver Hill was a primary attorney in the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education civil rights case.
L. Douglas Wilder was the first African American governor in the U.S.


Edgar Allan Poe grew up in Richmond.
Douglas Southall Freeman, Pulitzer Prize winner, lived in Richmond.
Tom Wolfe, best-selling American author and journalist, was born and raised here.
Patricia Cornwell, a former resident, uses the Richmond Region as the setting for many of her novels.
David Baldacci, a best-selling novelist, was born and raised in Richmond.


Arthur Ashe Jr., Wimbledon Champion and philanthropist, grew up here and learned to play tennis on Richmond's public tennis courts.
Lanny Wadkins, golfer, lived in Richmond.
Ralph Sampson, former player for NBA's Houston Rockets, lived here.
Shawn Barber, NFL player, attended high school and college in the Richmond Region.
Willie Lanier, NFL Hall of Famer, lives here.


Jimmy Dean, the sausage king, lived in the Richmond Region.
Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, born and discovered in Richmond, invented a new way to tap dance.
Shirley MacLaine, actress, lived here.
Carbon Leaf, a five-piece band playing Celtic roots rock, is based here.
D'Angelo, R&B singer, lives here.
Matt Lauer, co-host of NBC's Today Show, was once a local talk show host.
Elliot Yamin, American Idol finalist, grew up in Richmond.

Learn About Our Storied History

Fall in love with the Richmond Region's fun, exciting museums and attractions. Learn about the larger-than-life people who have made this area great. Start planning your trip now!


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