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Byline: By Gary Robertson
Jul. 30--It was the turn of the 20th century, when the state of Virginia was full-bore into a period of repression against blacks that would last into the Civil Rights era.
That's when one of the most architecturally splendid universities in America began rising in Richmond, the old Confederate capital.
The fact that it was a black university -- Virginia Union University -- must have been startling.
Architectural historian James Murray Howard, former curator and architect of Thomas Jefferson's "academical village" at the University of Virginia, puts it in perspective.
"There are very few universities in …