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The Story of the Friendship 9!
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Clarence Graham
With proper greetings to all who are here and appropriate condolences – most particularly to Mrs. Graham and the family of Clarence Graham. I am honored to make comments on behalf of the people of Rock Hill regarding the life and legacy of this fine gentlemen. As I think about what makes Rock Hill and our nation a special place, my thoughts go to those who have laid the foundation in a special way. Not necessarily for buildings or places, but those who are a part of the heart and soul of our city and our country and Clarence Graham as an individual, as a serviceman, and as a part of the Friendship Nine is a great example of one who helped to shape the spirit of our community, and the Civil Rights Movement in our state and nation. He was a real community builder – a citizen leader. His life stands and will forever be a part of history because of the turbulent times in which his courage was demonstrated and how he continued to share his driving motivation that all people – all people deserved a fair and just opportunity in life. He lived and shared that spirit with young and old throughout all his endeavors and what a testimony that was. As Carl Sandburg once wrote- There is only one man in the world and his name is All Men. There is only one woman in the world and her name is All Women. There is only one child in the world and the child’s name is All Children. There is only one people of the world and they are known as humanity. Clarence Graham is forever a part of the fabric of Rock Hill’s family because he lived and believed in ALL humanity and we thank God for sharing him with us ALL. Amen
Mayor Doug E

Welcome To The Friendship 9!

The Friendship 9 has a huge heart for the new generation growing up in this post Civil Rights era. They want to share their story with younger people to both encourage practicing civic duties as well as let them know how things use to be.

Their message: never forget where we all came from, and don’t be afraid to press on toward a better future by doing what is right. They tend to speak at a lot of schools, teaching kids of all ages what it means to stand up for something in a responsible way.

If you would like to schedule The Friendship 9 to speak at your next event, contact for more information. Or, if you would like to attend one of their speaking engagements, look over their calendar below.

In Honor of the Friendship 9!

Beginning in 1960, the Rock Hill McCrory’s, along with Woolworth’s and several other downtown establishments, was the site of several lunch counter sit-ins. Protesters (9 young men) from the nearby Friendship Junior College targeted McCrory’s and Woolworth’s on February 12, 1960, resulting in the lunch counters being closed for several days. The most famous of these protests occurred at McCrory’s on January 31, 1961, and resulted in the “Friendship Nine” incident, and garnered national attention because of the “jail, no bail” strategy. This previously untried strategy lessened the huge financial burden civil rights groups were facing as the movement spread across the South, ultimately changing the face of American business by granting equal service to African-Americans.

Recent News

53rd Anniversary & Book Launch, March 14, 2014

The 53rd Anniversary Celebration of the Friendship 9's historic "Jail, No Bail" sit-in and arrest for refusing to give up their seats at McCrory's Five and Dime lunch counter will be held March 14, 2014 [...]

Book Reviews

Amazing and powerful book that tells the story of the Friendship 9 so perfectly for children to understand. The wording was so eloquent and perfect, it made it easy for me to understand what happened on that day in Rock Hill. A favorite in our household!!
Monique D. Kirk
This book is amazing. It captures information about selfless men who helped to shape the civil rights movement. Please consider adding this timeless jewel to your home library, classroom, or public library. The illustration is breathtaking. I purchased this book for my two children at a book signing in ATL. I’ll be purchasing more for other family members very soon. Cheers!
Lady Erica