All but one members of the Friendship Nine were from Rock Hill. After leaving Friendship Junior College, they joined the military, enrolled in another college or started successful businesses. All believe the "Jail, No Bail" strategy paved the way to an integrated America. Here's a look at each member:
Lives in Prospect, Pa. Retired biology professor who taught at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania until 2007. Age, 72
Gaither was the sole member of the Friendship Nine who was not a Rock Hill native or student at Friendship Junior College. Gaither was raised in Great Falls in Chester County, son of parents who were Friendship graduates. A graduate of Claflin University in Orangeburg before the protests in Rock Hill, Gaither was working as a Congress of Racial Equality field organizer at the time of the 1961 protests. Gaither acted as an advisor to the students before the protests, then protested with them and was jailed with them.
After the protests, Gaither worked for civil rights groups in other places, including helping to organize the May 1961 Freedom Rides, before he was drafted by the Army. After graduate school specializing in botany, Gaither was a professor at Slippery Rock for almost 30 years.
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QUESTION: Why were the "Jail, No Bail" actions of the Friendship Nine important?
"The nonviolent protest movement was an attempt to give those who were for segregation a way out of the bias and prejudice that imprisoned them. We were not then, or ever, acting against whites. We were for equality for black people. What we did had a major impact on how protesters, while staying nonviolent, could work for change. And change America did."