Segments in this Video

Counter Histories: Rock Hill— Introduction (01:19)


This segment orients viewers to the topics of discrimination, segregation, and the Friendship 9 in 1961.

"Jail No Bail" (04:44)

Willie McCleod, Clarence Graham, James Wells, and W.T. "Dub" Massey recall discrimination and the decision to order lunch at the counter. Mayor Doug Echols recalls community leadership.

York County Prison (03:22)

Friendship 9 members recall being arrested at the lunch counter and what it was like in prison. Brother David Boone and Echols reflect on the prevalence of discrimination. Hear clips from presidential addresses discussing equality and peace.

Racism is Learned (03:03)

Willie McCleod discusses overcoming racism and the Freedom Ride. Hear clips from presidential addresses discussing equality and peace, and see images from the Civil Rights Movement.

Fighting for Freedom (04:08)

The members of Friendship 9 had similar backgrounds. Boone reflects on the lack of community support. Hear clips from presidential addresses and Martin Luther King discussing equality and peace.

Modifying Behavior (02:02)

Boone, W.T. "Dub" Massey, and Clarence Graham consider behavior when blacks were in a white community.

Trying to Correct a Wrong (03:09)

The Friendship 9 hoped "Jail No Bail" would appeal to people of good will. Young adults reflect on the difference between protests in the 1960s and today. Graham and Boone discuss changing your heart, respecting feelings, and making a genuine effort for change.

Honoring MLK (02:19)

Hear excerpts from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speeches. Echols discusses a community MLK celebration. Friendship 9 members reflect on being Americans and unity.

Friendship 9 (01:44)

Thomas Gaither and Echols reflect on the group's actions. Integration in Rock Hill did not occur until federally mandated with the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The Friendship 9's criminal records were vacated in 2015.

Credits: Counter Histories: Rock Hill (02:01)

Credits: Counter Histories: Rock Hill

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Counter Histories: Rock Hill

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On January 31st, 1961, in Rock Hill SC, the men who would become known as the Friendship 9 walked across town and sat down at a lunch counter. They were beaten, dragged outside, threatened, and sentenced to 30 days of hard labor at the York County Prison Camp. They were allowed no defense, afforded no rights, and offered no justice. Mostly students of nearby Friendship College, they held fast to nonviolence and “Jail No Bail.” Instead of paying for freedom in fees and fines, they suffered for it. Their names are: John Gaines, Thomas Gaither, Clarence Graham, W.T. “Dub” Massey, Willie McCleod, Robert McCullough, James Wells, David Williamson Jr., and Mack Workman. Thomas Gaither, a member of CORE (Congress of Racial Equality), came to Rock Hill, SC and recruited students from local universities for the planned sit-in. They trained extensively in nonviolence, and prepared for the hardship they knew they would have to endure. The Friendship 9 received incredible support from Brother David Boone, who himself endured hatred and threats despite his standing in the religious community and Caucasian race. None of these men knew the effect their isolated act would have, on the country or their own lives. The strategy of “Jail No Bail” pioneered by Thomas Gaither and piloted in Rock Hill, spread across the south and revitalized a frustrated Civil Rights Movement. Their success propelled the Freedom Rides and eventually major U.S. Civil Rights legislation. The trials didn’t end with their release from prison. The vitriol of racists and bigots always followed. That one day in January would change the direction of their whole lives. Only 54 years later, in January 2015, were their convictions stricken from the books. In a world grappling with issues of equality in all forms, the story of the Friendship 9 rings in our ears as powerfully as ever.

Length: 29 minutes

Item#: BVL127986

ISBN: 978-1-64023-047-7

Copyright date: ©2015

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards

Telly Awards 2016: Bronze Winner

Big River Film Festival 2016: Best Documentary Short

LA Independent Artist Film Festival 2016: Best Documentary Film

Tribute Film Festival 2016: Best Heritage Short Documentary

Southern Shorts Awards 2016: Best Documentary

SaMo Indie Film Festival 2016: Best Documentary

Spotlight Short Film Awards 2015: Silver Award Winner

Performance Rights

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Not available to Home Video customers.