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In Partnership with Cambridge College, 2021

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Artist Statement and Video Commentary


Thalhimer Lunch Counter Sit-In
Richmond, Virginia 1960
Historical Background

On February 20, 1960, over 200 Virginia Union University students walked from the campus on Lombardy Street down Broad Street until they arrived at the shopping district along Broad and Grace Streets. Once there, they entered the “whites only” dining area of Thalhimers Department Store, sat at the lunch counter and asked for service. On that day, the students were refused service, but they remained in their seats until the store closed.

Two days later on February 22, 34 students entered the Richmond Room at Thalhimers Department Store, again sitting at the lunch counter asking to be served. The students were told to leave. When they refused, they were arrested for trespassing at the request of Thalhimers management. These students became known as the “Richmond 34”—a reference to their place in the Civil Rights movement that had just recently begun using “sit-ins” as a form of peaceful protest of segregationist policies.

Recognition of the 50th Anniversary of the Thalhimer Lunch Counter Sit-in: A study guide for the classroom grades 7-12. Center Stage Foundation. Richmond, VA 2010

These images are from the archives of the Richmond Times Dispatch which, in turn, obtained them from the Anderson Collection of the Virginia Museum archives. They are images of the 1960 Sit In contributed to Violence Transformed and Cambridge College for the STANDING UP exhibition by psychologist Dr. Anderson J. Franklin, who was a member of the Richmond 34.

Recommended reading:

The Richmond 34 and the Civil Rights Movement
By Dr. Kimberly A. Matthews and Dr. Raymond Pierre Hylton

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