The old station wagon that transported prisoners screeched to a stop in front of the old building - a barn, really.
A barracks that, in 1961, sat along what is now S.C. 5 on the eastern edge of York - where the current county animal shelter is. The surrounding area was fields, with the York County Prison Camp fenced in.
Out of the back of the wagon tumbled 10 black men.
W.T. "Dub" Massey and Rob McCullough, the smallest.
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Then Willie McCleod, not much bigger, and Clarence Graham and James Wells and Mack Workman.
John Gaines and Thomas Gaither jumped out, prodded with the hard batons of guards, then Charles Taylor and David Williamson Jr.
"I got out of that wagon," recalled Williamson, "and I looked at the wire and the fence, and I said to myself, 'Man, you got what you asked for; you are going to prison.'"
The men were ushered into the middle corridor of the building.
White prisoners on the left, behind bars and wire in a common room.
Black prisoners on the right behind bars and wire in a common room.
At the end of the building was the kitchen.
"My grandparents were preachers, and the first thing I noticed was that the building was shaped just like a cross," said Massey. "The whites had their side of the jail, and we had ours.
"Man, even jail was separate!"
Segregated - even in jail
The prison farm was a scene straight out of an old movie. Big, tall white guards carrying shotguns. Guards who had reputations among blacks as the meanest of the mean.
One guard, leering, toothpick sticking out of his mouth as his chin jutted out, was known to blacks as a Ku Klux Klan leader in the days when the Klan used pitchfork and gun to carry hate actively to blacks who dared protest.
White prisoners behind the bars called out those racial epithets to these new arrivals - mostly teenagers - to let them know they were not just black, but criminal black, now.
"They lined us up, had us grab denim work clothes, shoes," Workman recalled. "From a big pile of the Negro clothes."
Williamson, so tall at almost 6-feet-4, could find no clothes to fit. He was given coveralls that would be all he had to wear for the next month.
The men were assigned cots in the black section and left alone for a while.
"Word had spread at the jail; the black prisoners knew we were coming," said Wells. "They nodded to us."
Few words were spoken among the 10 new prisoners. They glanced nervously at each other as all tried to figure out how to survive the next month.
Then, from above their heads, came a voice. A growl, really, as deep as any of them had ever heard.
"His name was Big Slim, and he was about 6-feet-5, maybe 275 pounds, not an ounce of fat on him," recalled Williamson. "He was the black prisoner in charge - it took no college to figure that out. People knew about Big Slim in those days. His voice was like thunder.
"He said, 'These boys jus' got here - if there is anybody bothers them, they will be a-answerin' to Big Slim.'"
Another black prisoner, nicknamed "NuNu," was a friend of Graham's father.
"NuNu told me, 'Don't worry 'bout nothing down here. We are here to make sure nobody hurts you,'" Graham remembered. "When you are 18 years old, and just sent to prison camp, man, those were some reassuring words to hear."
'A point to prove'
The first night went by without much event. The 10 prisoners from Friendship pulled their cots together and told each other they would make it if they stuck together.
"It was prison, real jail, but we had each other," McCleod said.
The meal that night was the leftovers after the white prisoners ate.
"That was how it was," Wells said. "White first, us last - a reminder of why we were doing it in the first place."
The men presumed family knew by now where they were, but they didn't know for sure.
"This wasn't jail like TV tries to make it out," Massey said. "This was a prison farm, and we didn't know if a single person outside that jail knew if we were living or hung somewhere."
The next day, the men were assigned to work gangs, but not as a group.
All prisoners were roused from bed before sunrise, given coffee -closer to dirty water with a few grounds thrown in - and sent out to work.
Even the work gangs were segregated.
"We cut brush that first day, with what was called a sling blade, a scythe," Gaither said. "Backbreaking work, but all the prisoners had to do it. The black prisoners, even more so."
By the second day, the Rev. Cecil Ivory, the leader of the Rock Hill NAACP, and a few others came to the prison farm to try to talk the men into paying the fine and leaving.
"But we had a point to prove by then," Workman said. "We couldn't leave."
The visitors told Taylor that - unlike the Rock Hill natives who lived at home and went to Friendship and Gaither, who was already a college graduate - he could lose his basketball scholarship if he stayed in jail a month.
The men talked about it, and Taylor chose to allow the NAACP to pay his fine so he could be released.
The other nine men supported the decision, saying he was "one of us."
"We always supported each other; Taylor had to leave," Graham said. "We were behind him then, and we are now, 50 years later.
"He didn't have any choice."
Taylor has wrestled with that decision for the past half-century.
"I left, and I only found out later that I wouldn't have lost my scholarship," Taylor said. "I wouldn't have left if I knew that. I still think about it."
The nine who stayed behind had no idea that their choice of jail over bail had leaked out to the world.
Accounts of their decision first made local news, then national news.
Some Americans, white and black, were appalled, then angry, that Rock Hill and York County's answer to protesting segregation was to jail protesters and force them to do hard labor.
Others, white Rock Hill specifically, responded by closing some lunch counters to avoid more protests. A white Citizens Council that had organized in 1960 quickly met to rally people against the black prisoners. One meeting drew more than 300 people.
But outside the jail, among supporters of those left in prison, a new name that lasts to this day was born: "The Friendship Nine."
By the first Sunday - visiting day at the prison farm and a day without forced labor - about 250 supporters from Rock Hill arrived in a 52-car caravan but were told they could not park nearby. They had to park at a black church, more than a mile away, and walk to the prison camp.
Protesters carried signs that read, "You can jail our bodies but not our souls."
A few of the men saw family who made it to the prison.
Food brought in by their families - when it wasn't confiscated by guards - was shared among all nine men. Some was even given to other black prisoners.
All told family who visited the same thing.
"We had to stay," Graham said.
The men found out that crosses had been burned at the home of Clarence Graham's parents on Boyd Hill in Rock Hill and at Thomas Gaither's parents home in Great Falls.
"The whites who didn't want black integration, they made it clear how displeased they were," Gaither said.
There was, again, real fear among the men that their families would be harmed. Workman's and Williamson's fathers were fired from school district labor jobs.
Gaines' great-grandmother came to the jail that Sunday, saying she had scraped together enough money for his bail. Disabled, she came in a wheelchair.
"I could not leave the other guys," Gaines said. "We had started, and we would finish."
A week after the men were arrested, four black protesters from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee sat down at another Rock Hill lunch counter. All were arrested, found guilty and sentenced to 30 days in jail.
Charles Jones from Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte and Charles Sherrod from Virginia Union University in Richmond were sent to the prison farm.
Diane Nash from Fisk University in Nashville and Ruby Smith from Spelman College in Atlanta were sent to the county jail, on the bottom floor with the other black female prisoners.
"We had to join them," Jones recalled. "Right was right. We had to show support."
A white protester - the first in anyone's recollection to walk the Rock Hill protest lines alongside blacks - joined picketers Feb. 8 in front of lunch counters in re-energized demonstrations.
Some white Catholics from the Oratory and integrated St. Mary's Catholic Church, including Brother David Boone, had supported previous years of protests against segregation but to that point, had not picketed.
Black groups met in Rock Hill churches that week, and black women picketed the all-white Winthrop College - at that time, a school for women.
On Feb. 12, protesters from Friendship and the NAACP tried to worship at five white Rock Hill churches. They were turned away at three of them.
Protesters came from a black college in Tennessee, and black newspapers from Baltimore and Pittsburgh sent reporters to cover the growing protests.
Ivory and two black ministers from out of state were arrested for refusing to leave a Rock Hill lunch counter.
The white news media, some of it anyway, carried stories of these men who chose jail instead of bail and the counter-protests that came as a result.
Rock Hill became a national story for how it treated blacks.
Leaders with the Congress of Racial Equality sent a telegram to newly elected President John F. Kennedy, describing how blacks were treated in the segregated South.
"Jail, No Bail" became a rallying cry that reached the White House - but the men who started it all knew little about it.
"We just went out and did the hard work they told us to do," said Gaines.
'Looking over my shoulder'
Inside the prison farm, the men sang hymns and protest songs such as "We Shall Overcome" and "Freedom," and "Chain Gang," Sam Cooke's 1960 hit.
"'That's the sound of the men, workin' on the chain - gaayang,' those words," Williamson recalled the lyrics. "We all knew the song. Those guards hated it."
Gaither recalled one guard, called "Captain Jim," telling the men, "Shut your damn mouths! This is a prison. This ain't no damn church in here!"
The days dragged on and the men worked on.
Late the next week, they were put in a group and told to build a fence to keep visitors from seeing the prisoners. The fence was just for them - to keep the world from seeing them the next Sunday on visiting day.
All refused and ended up in what was known as "solitary confinement" - which was actually separation as a group from the general population. That lasted two days in what was called "the hole."
The nine were given bread and water. All refused to eat the bread.
The men were released from "the hole" and sent back out to work around the county.
Graham was forced to work in front of Friendship Junior College, cleaning a storm drain, "to try and teach me a lesson - and embarrass me in front of my classmates."
Gaither, who had some training as a mason, was tasked to build a manhole. A black passerby recognized him and slipped him $5.
"The guard told me, I ever got caught with money again, it would be the last time," Gaither recalled.
There was snow - this was winter 1961 - and Massey was sent to the York County Courthouse in downtown York to shovel the historic steps.
"Here I was, a prisoner, in front of the place that is supposed to be about justice," Massey said. "I kept looking over my shoulder, wondering if somebody sent me here so somebody else could kill me."
The prison, to avoid further motorcades of protesters, cut morning visiting hours.
Rock Hill's city leaders, trying to quell protests downtown that had sparked again after the publicity generated by the jailing of the Friendship Nine, banned public demonstration - a clear violation of the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of assembly.
Downtown lunch counters closed temporarily rather than deal with more protests.
Back to 'the hole'
At the beginning of the third week, the men were grouped together again and ordered to move a pile of sand from one spot to another.
"To teach us a lesson," Williamson said.
The guards were tired of these black prisoners getting attention from the outside world. Tired of these blacks who used quiet time to read books and study schoolwork, who spoke in French among themselves so the guards would not know what they were saying.
The nine were told to move far more sand than other prisoners did, for no other reason than to move sand. After the first day, each balked.
"We just said it was not fair, and we were not going to do it," recalled Workman. "We staged a work slowdown."
Gaither called the guards' actions, "a deliberate attempt to punish the notorious protesters - us."
All nine were sent back to "the hole," this time for three days. Bread and water alone, the bread uneaten again.
Under the door of a cell came a Baby Ruth candy bar, smuggled in by either Big Slim or NuNu, won in the black prisoners' checkers tournament.
That candy bar was broken up into nine pieces, so all could get a bite.
"Best bite of candy bar, that Baby Ruth, that I have ever eaten in my life - before or since," said McCleod.
Once out of solitary, Gaines was working on cutting brush when a guard sneered at him and waved.
Gaines waved back.
"I knew that was going to be trouble," he remembered.
Gaines was grabbed and taken to the county jail in downtown York, where he spent the next 12-1/2 days.
"We didn't know if John was alive or not," Graham said. "We protested, but there was nothing we could do."
In the county lock-up, Gaines was barely fed and was nervous that alone, something could happen to him.
"I didn't eat, hardly anything, the whole time by myself," Gaines said.
The labor went on for the other men. They counted off the days, prayed and sang.
"We stuck together," McCleod said.
As the day of their release approached in early March, the nine men hoped for a crowd of well-wishers to greet them.
But the jail released them a half-day early, in the morning hours, to avoid any kind of embrace outside the prison gates, Gaither recalled.
"They wanted no heroes' welcome for a bunch of black protesters," Gaither said. "They wanted no media event, where cameras showed us leaving jail alive and together and united in our goal of changing segregation, that is certain."
By the time the men left the prison camp, some had lost as much as 20 pounds.
They were piled into a flatbed work truck - the same truck they had piled sand on so many days earlier - and driven back to Rock Hill. They were dropped off on the southern edge of the city, near where Heckle Boulevard and South Cherry Road meet today.
The nine men walked up Finley Road, which led to the Friendship campus. Word quickly spread that the protesters were free.
"I rang that big school bell, the one the school used to have to announce things, and I was never prouder," said Williamson.
But there was no citywide celebration of their courage in March 1961, as there will be today in Rock Hill to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the arrest of these men as a protest of segregation - and their decision to go to jail for 30 days.
Downtown was still for whites, and would remain so for years.
Re-igniting a movement
Just two months later, in May 1961, the "Freedom Riders" - a group of white and black civil rights activists - headed from Washington, D.C., to Mississippi aboard a bus.
That in itself was a public affront to segregated bus stations.
When they stopped at Rock Hill's Greyhound bus station, a mob of whites beat up a black rider and a white rider.
That black man was John Lewis, now a congressman from Georgia.
Only later in the 1960s - after most of the "Friendship Nine" had been labeled as "troublemakers" and had left the city for the military, more education or to escape segregation and find opportunities - did Rock Hill finally end segregation.
So did South Carolina, and the South.
"But we learned when we got out of prison that the country in places, other protesters and even a new public perception, had taken up for us," Gaither said. "The country had heard about what we had done.
"What we accomplished had taken hold and was noticed. That was significant."
The attention paid the Friendship Nine "re-ignited" the civil rights movement in the South, Gaines and Workman said. It was a movement that had slowed after a year of sit-ins and protests changed nothing.
And they did it all without ever striking a single person. They threw no punches, cursed no one. They did not lash out against whites because whites were not the enemy - segregation was the enemy.
With nonviolence, these nine men had started to change the world we all live in today.
"Our actions did bring about change," Workman said. "People had seen what segregation really meant. How it had to end."
'Ask not ...'
A few days after their release, the Friendship Nine were flown to New York by civil rights groups to be interviewed by newspapers and TV reporters who, unlike most Southern media, did not support segregation.
They talked to activists who were raising money for further protests, and to urge others to try "Jail, No Bail."
Back home in Rock Hill, the men had to sit in a segregated balcony to watch a movie. In New York City, they sat right next to whites to watch the Broadway smash "Bye Bye Birdie."
"That's when we found that people who wanted segregation gone were not just black but good people of all colors from all over the country," Graham said. "Not everybody, but enough to keep the progress going."
The men who were students went back to school at Friendship and continued to protest. None ever went back to jail. Gaither, the CORE organizer, took another post in Mississippi as more protests were held.
Today, Rock Hill will honor these men with a re-enactment of their actions on Jan. 31, 1961, and a short march down Main Street to the same lunch counter.
Only McCullough, who died in 2006, will not be there.
All eight survivors said, without a doubt, that what they did was right 50 years ago. Not a single one regrets any of it. Protest, arrest - even 30 days in jail.
"America is a better place - not perfect, but better - because of it," said Williamson.
The men are older now, in their late 60s and early 70s. All became husbands and fathers and grandfathers. All went on to different lives of success.
Their words and actions together though, shall live forever.
On Jan. 20, 1961, President John F. Kennedy was inaugurated.
Kennedy challenged Americans to "ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."
"Jail, No Bail" is what these nine men did for their country just 11 days later.
It helped change America - their sacrifice and imprisonment - and it happened right here on Rock Hill's Main Street, where all can sit together today and order a hamburger and a Coca-Cola, and be served.
Friendship Nine coverage
Friday - What led to the Friendship Nine sit-ins and their original strategy
Saturday - A look back at the day the Friendship Nine sat down to make their point - and were arrested
Today - What the Friendship Nine endured in 30 days of hard labor at the York County Prison Farm. Also, a special edition of Viewpoint looks in-depth at the Friendship Nine and their place in Rock Hill's civil rights history.
Monday - Coverage of Sunday's commemorative march, marking the 50th anniversary of the historic sit-ins