Curators at Work: Thalhimers & Richmond 34

Time Period
1925 to Today
Media Type
Black History
Civil Rights
Elizabeth Johnson Rice and Elizabeth Thalhimer Smartt

On September 9th, 2022, Elizabeth Johnson Rice and Elizabeth Thalhimer Smartt discussed how history brought their friendship to fruition. In 2004, Elizabeth Johnson Rice organized a commemorative march to honor the Richmond 34, a group of Virginia Union University students arrested during a sit-in at the Thalhimers department store lunch counter in 1960. The event drew large crowds to take part in celebrating Richmond’s history. It also caught the attention of Elizabeth Thalhimer Smartt, the granddaughter of former Thalhimers CEO William Thalhimer, Jr., who was then researching her book, Finding Thalhimers. The two women met and developed a friendship through their shared histories and continue to work together to help preserve the story of how the Richmond 34 and William Thalhimer, Jr., made history in Virginia.