Civil rights movement hits 'Richmond Room' at Thalhimer's - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Civil rights movement hits 'Richmond Room' at Thalhimer's

By Curt Autry - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - February 1, 1960 -- four college students sit down at the lunch counter at a Greensboro, N.C., department store -- and within days ignite a struggle. A student led, civil right's movement that would sweep the south.

"Maybe four days after Greensboro, some student leaders met -- Rev. Frank Pinkston, Rev. Charles Sheraud," said Dr. Raymond Pierre Hylton, a professor at Virginia Union University.

On the VUU campus, a plan was forming among a group of students -- who would become known as "The Richmond 34." 

Their plan was simple. A trip to Richmond's most trendy shopping spot of the era -- Thalhimer's Department store. A place where African-Americans could shop, but not get service at the restauant.  A sit-in, days earlier, at several other area lunch counters, produced no arrests. It was only when they moved to the more upscale "Richmond Room" at Thalhimer's that police were called.

"The plan was actually to force an arrest, so they could challenge it in the courts, get it publicized, and ignite what they did ignite: a massive boycott. Call the campaign for human dignity," Hylton said.

Back on the VUU campus, university President Dr. Samuel Proctor expressed shock by the student's action -- but we now know he was it on it from the beginning. 

Proctor, a close friend of Dr. Martin Luther King, was active in the civil rights movement -- but for the good of the college, held his tongue. 

"He knew about it, I suppose it was a 'don't ask, don't tell' type of thing," Hylton said. "There was a consideration of a lot of donors maybe withdrawing their funds if the administration came out, Virginia being what it was, at the time."

By Christmas of 1960, almost all Richmond merchants had felt the economic sting of the boycott, sparked by the campaign for human dignity, and reluctantly gave in.  In the proud Capitol of the Confederacy -- mere students, some just teenagers, had accomplished in days -- what generations could not. 

"If integration could somehow be pulled off in Richmond -- that would send repercussions throughout the south," Hylton said. 

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

  • NewsNewsMore>>

  • New microbrewery to open in the Starland District

    New microbrewery to open in the Starland District

    Thursday, June 22 2017 11:54 PM EDT2017-06-23 03:54:20 GMT
    (Sourec:WTOC)(Sourec:WTOC)
    The Starland District is set to get a new microbrewery this fall. Two Tides Brewing Company is set to open on West 41st Street. The Zoning Board approved the specific location for the brewery on Thursday. The building is being built behind the old Starland Dairy. Master Brewer James Massey said that the hurdles they had to jump over to secure the location were worth it. "We're just really excited for this neighborhood. Not a day goes by where I don't talk to somebody who is de...More >>
    The Starland District is set to get a new microbrewery this fall. Two Tides Brewing Company is set to open on West 41st Street. The Zoning Board approved the specific location for the brewery on Thursday. The building is being built behind the old Starland Dairy. Master Brewer James Massey said that the hurdles they had to jump over to secure the location were worth it. "We're just really excited for this neighborhood. Not a day goes by where I don't talk to somebody who is de...More >>
  • New restaurant 'Edgar's Proof and Provision' opens in downtown Savannah

    New restaurant 'Edgar's Proof and Provision' opens in downtown Savannah

    Thursday, June 22 2017 10:23 PM EDT2017-06-23 02:23:56 GMT
    (Source:WTOC)(Source:WTOC)

    Savannah's newest restaurant, Edgar's Proof and Provision, opens in the downtown area. The restaurant is located inside the Hilton DeSoto hotel on Liberty St. and hosted it's grand opening on Thursday night. Edgar's Proof and Provision will serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks. It's open from 6:30 a.m. until midnight. Staff tells WTOC that it provides the perfect view of the historic district, spread out over three levels. "The service is always smilin...

    More >>

    Savannah's newest restaurant, Edgar's Proof and Provision, opens in the downtown area. The restaurant is located inside the Hilton DeSoto hotel on Liberty St. and hosted it's grand opening on Thursday night. Edgar's Proof and Provision will serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks. It's open from 6:30 a.m. until midnight. Staff tells WTOC that it provides the perfect view of the historic district, spread out over three levels. "The service is always smilin...

    More >>
  • Teen shot while riding bicycle at E. 39th, Live Oak Streets

    Teen shot while riding bicycle at E. 39th, Live Oak Streets

    Thursday, June 22 2017 8:51 PM EDT2017-06-23 00:51:16 GMT

    The Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Department is investigating the shooting of a teenager at East 39th and Live Oak streets. Officials say around 7:30 p.m. Thursday night, a teenager was shot while riding a bicycle. According to police, the teen suffered non-life threatening injuries. Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact the SCMPD tip line by dialing (912) 525-3124. Information may also be forwarded to CrimeStoppers at (912) 234-2020...

    More >>

    The Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Department is investigating the shooting of a teenager at East 39th and Live Oak streets. Officials say around 7:30 p.m. Thursday night, a teenager was shot while riding a bicycle. According to police, the teen suffered non-life threatening injuries. Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact the SCMPD tip line by dialing (912) 525-3124. Information may also be forwarded to CrimeStoppers at (912) 234-2020...

    More >>
Powered by Frankly