January 6 1961- The Friendship Nine

GM – FBF – We as a people are ready for being treated like Americans, in all phases of our lives.

Remember – “A ham sandwich does not change, so why can’t I order one at this counter” – Diane Nash (Freedom Nine)

Today in our History – January 6, 1961 – The Friendship Nine, or Rock Hill Nine, was a group of African-American men who went to jail after staging a sit-in at a segregated McCrory’s lunch counter in Rock Hill, South Carolina in 1961. The group gained nationwide attention because they followed the 1960 Nashville sit-in strategy of “Jail, No Bail”, which lessened the huge financial burden civil rights groups were facing as the sit-in movement spread across the South. They became known as the Friendship Nine because eight of the nine men were students at Rock Hill’s Friendship Junior College.

The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) sent four volunteers to Rock Hill, SC to sit-in: Charles Sherrod, Charles Jones, Diane Nash, Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson. They were sentenced to 30 days. This followed a sit-in a week earlier when 10 African American students in Rock Hill (to become known as the Friendship Nine) were arrested for requesting service at a segregated lunch counter. Saying “Jail, No Bail,” both groups (except for one person) refused to post bail and demanded jail time rather than paying fines as a statement “that paying bail or fines indicates acceptance of an immoral system and validates their own arrests” and as a practical strategy when financial resources were limited.

In 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. The men were represented at the hearing by Ernest A. Finney, Jr., the same lawyer who had defended them originally, who subsequently went on to become the first African-American Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court since Reconstruction. Research more about The Rock Hill Nine and Restaurant protests during the 1950’s and 1960’s throughout America and tell your babies. Make It A Champion Day!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *