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February 22, 1960, bore witness to an event that would forever change the social, political, and economic life of a city, a state, and millions of inhabitants. The arrest of 34 Virginia Union University students during a sit-in protest at the most upscale department store in Richmond, Virginia, heralded the upending of a long-established way of life and a change of direction from which there would be no turning back. The students would see their actions galvanize a community into effecting wide-ranging reforms in desegregation and play a significant role in ending the nearly 70-year grip on power of one of the nation's strongest political machines. Bafflingly, their achievement faded into obscurity, and only in recent years has its importance been recognized.
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About the Author
Dr. Kimberly A. Matthews is a professor of leadership at Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Matthews earned her doctorate in education at Virginia Commonwealth University (2012) and began teaching with Virginia Commonwealth University's LEAD living-learning program. She is the author of a history of the Richmond Crusade for Voters. Dr. Raymond Pierre Hylton is professor of history at Virginia Union University. Dr. Hylton earned his doctorate in history at the University College Dublin, Ireland (1986), and first taught at Virginia Union as an adjunct instructor in 1988. He became a full-time faculty member in 1991 and served as dean and department chair. He is the author of a History of Virginia Union University.