Jail, No Bail
This 30-minute long broadcast pays tribute to the sit-in that introduced a new protest strategy and turned the tables on the establishment, while at the same time reinvigorating the Civil Rights movement nationally. The program also honors the “Friendship Nine” and the bold stand the men took in the face of extreme injustice.
On January 31, 1961, ten black students from Friendship College walked into McCrory’s Five and Dime in downtown Rock Hill, SC. They sat down at the lunch counter and ordered hamburgers and soft drinks. They were denied service and told to leave. When they refused, the group was arrested and charged with trespassing.
In previous sit-ins across the South, protestors were arrested, processed by the police, fined and then released, creating a dubious revenue stream from which many municipalities easily profited.
But when the Friendship students went before the judge, they chose to serve their time behind bars. For the first time, not only did the city not collect its $100 per person, it actually had to pay to house and feed the men.
After four days of incarceration, one student did pay his fine and was released. However, the remaining students, known as the “Friendship Nine,” completed their 30 days of hard labor.
Word of their action spread like wildfire, receiving national media attention, including the New York Times. The “Jail, No Bail” strategy became the new tactic that helped galvanize the civil rights protest movement.
Narrated by award-winning actor Keith David, “Jail, No Bail” is a powerful examination of the personal trials and adversities that tested the character and resolve of this group of young men. Through non-violent protest, these strong-willed activists helped compel a nation to abandon segregationist practices between the races.
The program dramatically moves through the 1961 peaceful protest and shares revelations from eight of the surviving members of the Friendship Nine, as well as the tenth student who posted bail. The show also offers never-before-told specifics of this historic demonstration.
This landmark sit-in is also featured on the ETV educational Web site, Road Trip! Through SC Civil Rights History and the Road Trip! printed map. These tools highlight prominent people, places and events from the civil rights movement in South Carolina from the 1940’s through the early 1970’s. The Road Trip! Through SC Civil Rights History website is used in schools throughout South Carolina and can also be accessed nationally by going to www.KnowItAll.org/RoadTrip