Lives in Florence. Retired lawyer. Age, 69
Gaines grew up on Hagins Street in Rock Hill, where his great-grandmother was a cook for students at Friendship Junior College nearby.
After graduating from Emmett Scott High School in 1960, Gaines enrolled at Friendship. He was elected president of the student branch of the NAACP while taking an active role in ongoing protests in downtown Rock Hill. He was an organizer of nonviolence training for protesters and helped craft the decision to stay in jail rather than post bond.
He continued protests after the group's release from jail. After graduating from Friendship, Gaines went on to Benedict College in Columbia, where he was active with the NAACP's civil rights protests and clerked for Judge Matthew Perry. After law school at Howard University, Gaines worked in Rock Hill for the Model Cities program, then joined the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in Florence, where he worked on civil rights cases that went as high as the U.S. Supreme Court and changed civil rights laws. Gaines worked as a lawyer in both civil rights cases and in general practice until retiring.
QUESTION: Why were the "Jail, No Bail" actions of the Friendship Nine important?
"We had no idea at the time we did this that our actions would re-ignite the civil rights movement across the South. The movement was waning because protests had gone on for almost a year without gains, but us going to jail - and the attention it received - brought new energy to the movement. The actions did make a difference in Rock Hill and all over, even if it took some years, and encouraged me to become a lawyer so that I could help others of all races, and make my country a better place."