On this day in 1960, 34 brave students from Virginia Union University staged a sit-in at a segregated lunch counter in Thalhimer’s Department Store (which stood at Broad and 6th Street), after a campus visit from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. All thirty-four were subsequently arrested, in the first mass arrest of the civil rights movement of 1960, and became known across the country as the Richmond 34.
The 34 challenged their convictions and took their case all the way to the national Supreme Court, where the conviction was overturned in a legal victory for civil rights nationwide.
The names of the Richmond 34 are: Elizabeth Patricia Johnson, Joanna Hinton, Gloria C. Collins, Patricia A. Washington, Barbara A. Thornton, Lois B. White, Thalma Y. Hickman, Celia E. Jones, Carolyn Ann Horne, Marise L. Ellison, Virginia G. Simms, Frank George Pinkston, Charles Melvin Sherrod, Albert Van Graves Jr., Ford Tucker Johnson Jr., Leroy M. Bray Jr., Wendell T. Foster Jr., Anderson J. Franklin, Ronald B. Smith, Larry Pridgen, Woodrow B. Grant, Joseph E. Ellison, Gordon Coleman, Milton Johnson, Donald Vincent-Goode, Robert B. Dalton, Samuel F. Shaw, Randolph A. Tobias, Clarence A. Jones, Richard C. Jackson, George Wendall Harris Jr., John J. McCall, Leotis L. Pryor, and Raymond B. Randolph Jr.