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 Rock Hill. Retired lawyer. Age, 68
Wells was raised on the Industrial Mill hill, in one of the few black families surrounded by whites. After graduating from Emmett Scott High School in 1959, Wells spent his first year of college at S.C. State in Orangeburg, where he was part of the nonviolent protest movement against segregation. He came back to Rock Hill in 1960 and enrolled at Friendship Junior College, then became a central member of the student group studying nonviolent protest ideology. After graduating from Friendship, Wells enlisted in the Air Force. After his military service, Wells graduated from Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, then law school at the University of Illinois. He practiced in Columbia, then in Rock Hill until his retirement.
QUESTION: Why were the "Jail, No Bail" actions of the Friendship Nine important?
"It was clear to all of us that segregation was unjust, unfair, and wrong. None of us wanted to go to jail for a month, but the protests showed people what the real truth was in Rock Hill. What we did, hopefully it reminded young people afterward, and still does, that one has to sacrifice for the rest of society to change and become better for all people."