On January 31, 1961, students from Friendship Junior College and others picketed McCrory’s on Main Street in Rock Hill, S.C., to protest the segregated lunch counters at the business. They walked in, took seats at the counter and ordered. The students were refused service and ordered to leave. When they didn’t, they were arrested. The 10 were convicted of trespassing and breach of the peace and sentenced to serve 30 days in jail or to pay a $100 fine. One man paid a fine, but the remaining nine — eight of whom were Friendship students —chose to take the sentence of 30 days hard labor. Their choosing jail over a fine or bail marked a first in the civil rights movement and sparked the “jail, no bail” strategy that came to be emulated in other places. They became known as the Friendship Nine.
On January 28, 2015, Judge John C. Hayes III of Rock Hill overturned the convictions of the nine, stating: “We cannot rewrite history, but we can right history.” At the same occasion, Prosecutor Kevin Brackett apologized to the eight men still living, who were in court.
Wikipedia contributors. “Friendship Nine.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 29 Jan. 2015. Web. 9 Feb. 2015