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Virginia lawmakers honor Richmond 34 for making ‘extraordinary difference’ in civil rights movement

RICHMOND, Va. -- The Richmond 34, a group of civil rights activists, were honored Friday on the 59th anniversary of the day they were arrested after a sit-in protest at a department store.

The Richmond 34 were recognized at their home university, Virginia Union University -- one of several events held in their honor. At that ceremony, a representative for Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney named each member. It was a moment to reflect on their civil rights sit-in at the Thalhimers store in Richmond 59 years ago.

Earlier Friday morning the activists were invited to a breakfast with Governor Ralph Northam at the Governor's Mansion.

The activists then received a proclamation on the floor of the General Assembly by Del. Deloris McQuinn. She, Del. Lamont Bagby, and House Speaker Kirk Cox thanked them for their courage and sacrifice.

"They used exceptional restraint to lead a peaceful protest against a evil system of bigotry and discrimination," said Del. McQuinn. "However they moved forward that day, and made an extraordinary difference in terms of south segregated policies and practices. We are recognizing them today for their sacrifices. And Mr. Speaker, after all of these years they are just getting their record expunged 59 years later."

Several of those members were scheduled for an expungement hearing at John Marshall Court Friday. Court costs were being paid by the NAACP of Richmond.

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