ABOUT THIS EVENT
Join us for the exclusive preview of the new documentary, Principle, Punishment & Redemption, produced by local documentarian and WBTV reporter, Steve Crump. After the screening we will host a conversation about history, progress and current challenges in today's social climate. Civil rights heroes – including members of the Friendship 9 – will share their experiences. Author of No Fear for Freedom: The Story of the Friendship 9, Kimberly Johnson, will join a panel discussion and sign her book.
In 1961, a group of South Carolina students, known as the Friendship 9, picketed and protested the segregated lunch counters at a local business. They did so by walking in, taking a seat, and ordering a meal from the restaurant. The restaurant refused service, asked them to leave, and called the police to have the students arrested. The next day, 10 students were convicted of trespassing and breach of the peace and sentenced to serve 30 days in jail or to pay a $100 fine. One man paid the fine, but the remaining nine chose to take the sentence of 30 days hard labor at the York County Prison Farm, thus creating one of the most important moments of protest in the history of the Civil Rights Movement. In 2015, over 50 years later, Circuit Court Judge John C. Hayes deemed the convictions as “vacated, null and void, and set aside... dismissed with prejudice” in a Rock Hill courtroom. “We cannot rewrite history but we can right history,” said Judge Hayes. The Friendship 9 are guilty no more.
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