|Friendship Nine sentenced to 30 days in jail for sit-in|
John Alexander Gaines, Thomas Walter Gaither, Clarence H. Graham, Willie Thomas Massey, Willie Edward McCleod, Robert L. McCullough, James Frank Wells, David Williamson Jr. and Mack C. Workman were sentenced to 30 days in jail for an anti-segregation protest in Rock Hill, South Carolina on Jan. 31, 1961. These men from Friendship College were give a choice by the judge $100 or 30 days in jail. They chose 30 days of doing hard labor.
54 years later...
The men now in completely different form: walking with canes, using wheelchairs, or with less hair. Unfortunately, Mr. McCullough passed away in 2006 and Mr. Gaither had to send his son in his place. However, one thing remained the same: the lawyer. Ernest A. Finney Jr. represented the men 54 years ago and he returned back to Rock Hill for the trial.
Kimberyly P. Johnson, author of the book "No Fear for Freedom" a children's book about the sit-in, approached the local prosecutor Kevin Brackett about vacating the charges. So, Mr. Brackett, during the trial spoke on behalf of the justice system and apologized for what the Friendship Nine went through. The judge John C. Hayes III told the men that they should never have been charged in the first place. It's amazing that these two white government men were able to admit the faults of the white men in the past. In fact, the judge 54 years ago was judge Hayes' uncle.
I think it's very interesting that it took the country 54 years to right the wrongs of the past. It shows that the country is making progress, but it still took so long to do so. Will the justice system right any other wrongs of the past?
Link to the video from the trial is here.