RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Members of the Richmond 34, a group of 34 Virginia Union University students arrested in 1960 protesting segregation in Richmond, had their criminal records expunged at the John Marshall Courthouse on Friday. 

The Richmond 34 participated in a sit-in at the Thalhimers department store’s lunch counter on Feb. 22, 1960. Thirty-four VUU students, 11 women and 23 men, took part in the sit-in 59 years ago. 

In one of the first mass arrests of the Civil Rights Movement, the students were charged for trespassing.

VUU held a chapel service and discussion on Thursday to honor the Richmond 34.   

On Friday, Gov. Northam hosted members of the Richmond 34 at the Executive Mansion.

The meeting with the governor came after Northam decided not to attend the event held by VUU. 

Members of the Richmond 34 spoke with 8News after having their records expunged. 

“We grew up in a segregated south,” Dr. Leroy M. Bray Jr. said. “We had to ride in the back of the streetcars and the buses.”

“We did not know that these records hadn’t been expunged,” he continued. 

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