Friendship Nine

Civil rights and student activists

On January 31, 1961, a group of 18 African American students (13 men and 5 women) held a sit-in protest at the McCrory’s Variety Store in downtown Rock Hill, South Carolina. The arrested students, called the Friendship Nine, refused bail and served their 30-day sentences on the county prison farm. Hundreds of supporters, including future Congressman John Lewis, visited the Friendship Nine. The students’ refusal to pay bail sparked the “Jail, No Bail” strategy. Protesters across the country, particularly student activists, chose jail time over bail to draw greater attention to the Civil Rights Movement.

Image courtesy of South Caroliniana Library

Learn more about: