Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Friendship Nine - Sane Team Win

McCrory's Protest, Downtown Rock Hill, SC 1961
After fifty-four years of Civil Rights efforts and slow change, the remaining members of the Friendship Nine saw a judge throw out their 1961 convictions for a protest at a Rock Hill lunch counter. The peaceful protest, which altogether included thirteen men and five women, some of whom were students at Friendship College, started with a picket line outside and a sit-in inside at McCrory's, where black people weren't allowed service.

Beginning Of "Jail, No Bail"
They were the first to use the "Jail, No Bail" strategy during the 1960's Civil Rights movement period, and they created a "follow the money" moment that set the bar for the movement. Instead of the city profiting off the people it arrested in peaceful protests, the jail time for the Nine actually cost it money.

Municipalities started getting the hint that maybe going along with racism wasn't lucrative after all. How often that meant that the people who really didn't want segregation were glad to have the money angle to argue their positions, or that the people who did or were apathetic just went for the least expensive option is largely an unanswerable question by now. And I don't think it matters at this point. What does matter is that it gave Civil Rights activists a new place to work from.
I found it especially cool that Judge John C. Hayes III, the official who had the pleasure of roundfiling the convictions, is the nephew of the judge that originally ruled on the case. Also high five worthy was the photo shoot they did at the Five & Dime Restaurant, which stands on the site of the old McCrory's. Some of the Nine have been regular customers there for a long time now, but I figure it was still good to walk in that door for the first time after the official exoneration and truly bury the place that once was in favor of the place that is now.

Time Warp Bit . . .

 . . . McCrory's is gone; they're still here

In the audio report in the above link, Nine member Clarence Graham states

"Fifty-four years later, we're proving you can be successful with nonviolence - nonviolence. Even though we were treated unjustly, still, nonviolence prevailed, and to the day that's our message to young people."

Change has happened, and will keep happening. The Sane People Team just has to keep the ball rolling forward, and remember that we don't have to be the ones to escalate, or need to have a particular team color.