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Flying Squirrels Announce Initiatives to Honor Richmond 34

Number retirement, mural, legacy campaign and more to celebrate legacy of Richmond civil rights heroes.

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The Richmond 34 refers to a group of Virginia Union University students who participated in a nonviolent sit-in at the lunch counter of Thalhimers department store in downtown Richmond, Virginia. The event was one of many sit-ins to occur throughout the civil rights movement in the 1960s and was essential to helping desegregate the city of Richmond.

From the press release:

The Richmond Flying Squirrels announced multiple new initiatives on Wednesday that the team will be implementing beginning in 2021 to celebrate the legacy of the Richmond 34.

The initiatives include:

  • Retirement of the No. 34 by the Flying Squirrels organization
  • Richmond 34 Legacy mural at The Diamond
  • Richmond 34 Legacy Weekend
  • Richmond 34 Legacy campaign
  • Career advancement & mentorship program for Virginia State University and Virginia Union University students

On February 22, 1960, 34 Virginia Union University students were arrested following a peaceful sit-in protest at the whites-only lunch counter of Thalhimers Department Store in downtown Richmond. The Richmond 34 sit-in ultimately led to the integration of Thalhimers and influenced legislation in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The Flying Squirrels will be permanently retiring the No. 34 from on-field use to honor the Richmond 34’s legacy. It is the second number retired by the team, joining Jackie Robinson’s No. 42, which was retired by Major League Baseball in 1997.

“The Richmond 34 are heroes in the push for civil rights,” Flying Squirrels CEO Todd “Parney” Parnell said. “We are more than thrilled to celebrate their legacy and tell their story to new generations, working hard together to positively affect our community twelve months a year.”

Read the full press release here.

The painting of the mural.

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

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