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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Rock Hill in York County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

McCrory's Civil Rights Sit-ins / "Friendship Nine"

 
 
McCrory's Civil Rights Sit-ins Marker image. Click for full size.
By Stanley and Terrie Howard, October 12, 2008
1. McCrory's Civil Rights Sit-ins Marker
Inscription.  
McCrory's Civil Rights Sit-ins
This building, built in 1901, was occupied by McCrory's Five & Dime from 1937 to 1997. On February 12, 1960, black students from Friendship Jr. College in Rock Hill were denied service at the McCrory's lunch counter but refused to leave. Their "sit-in" was one of the first of many calling attention to segregated public places in downtown Rock Hill. These protests lasted for more than a year.

"Friendship Nine"
Many Rock Hill protesters were arrested, convicted, and fined. On January 31, 1961, ten students from Friendship Jr. College were arrested when they refused to leave McCrory's. Nine would not pay their fines and became the first Civil Rights sit-in protesters in the nation to serve jail time. This new "Jail No Bail" strategy by "the Friendship Nine" was soon adopted as the model strategy for the Freedom Rides of 1961.
 
Erected 2007 by The Culture and Heritage Museums of York County and the City of Rock Hill. (Marker Number 46-37.)
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Civil Rights
"Friendship Nine" Marker image. Click for full size.
By Stanley and Terrie Howard, October 12, 2008
2. "Friendship Nine" Marker
Click or scan to see
this page online
. A significant historical month for this entry is January 1840.
 
Location. 34° 55.531′ N, 81° 1.607′ W. Marker is in Rock Hill, South Carolina, in York County. Marker is on E Main Sreet. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 135 E Main St, Rock Hill SC 29730, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Village of Rock Hill / City of Rock Hill (within shouting distance of this marker); Andrew Jackson Hotel / Vernon Grant (within shouting distance of this marker); U.S. Post Office and Courthouse / Citizen's Building (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Black Plantation / Hampton Campaign (about 400 feet away); Rock Hill (about 600 feet away); Episcopal Church of Our Saviour (about 600 feet away); First Presbyterian Church / Church Leaders (about 700 feet away); Rock Hill Depots / Rock Hill Street Railway (about 700 feet away); First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church / Dr. Arthur Small Rogers (approx. 0.2 miles away); Rock Hill Cotton Factory (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Rock Hill.
 
Also see . . .
1. McCrory Stores. J.G. McCrory's or McCrory Stores was a chain of five and dime stores in the United States based in York, Pennsylvania. (Submitted on January 23, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

2. Friendship Jr. College. Official website of Friendship Jr. College. (Submitted on January 23, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
McCrory's Civil Rights Sit-ins / "Friendship Nine" Marker image. Click for full size.
By Stanley and Terrie Howard, October 12, 2008
3. McCrory's Civil Rights Sit-ins / "Friendship Nine" Marker
 

3. Friendship Nine. The Friendship 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. (Submitted on January 23, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

4. A Cying Racist Struggles to Deal with His Past Sins. Elwin Hope Wilson leans back in his recliner at his home in Rock Hill, SC, a sad, sickly man haunted by time. (Submitted on January 23, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 
 
Additional commentary.
1. List of the Friendship Nine
• John Gaines
• Thomas Gaither (not a Friendship student)
• Clarence Graham
• W.T. "Dub" Massey
• Willie McCleod
• Robert McCullough (d. August 7, 2006)
• James Wells
• David Williamson Jr.
• Mack Workman
    — Submitted January 23, 2010, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.
 
"Friendship Nine" image. Click for full size.
Courtesy of Rock Hill Evening Herald, 1960
4. "Friendship Nine"
One of the civil rights incidents in downtown Rock Hill in the sixties. This photo from the Feb. 13, 1960, Evening Herald, described Bunt Gill wiping egg from his hat this way: Bunt Gill, a negro passer-by, wipes egg from hat as police stand guard. Hurled egg struck Gill as demonstrators filed out West Main. Elwin Wilson, now 72, is pictured in white jersey over Gill's left shoulder. Wilson, who said he threw the egg, recently apologized to black protesters of segregation.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 27, 2020. It was originally submitted on March 4, 2009, by Stanley and Terrie Howard of Greer, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 7,771 times since then and 59 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on March 4, 2009, by Stanley and Terrie Howard of Greer, South Carolina.   4. submitted on March 5, 2009, by Stanley and Terrie Howard of Greer, South Carolina. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.

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