In this silent WSB newsfilm clip from Rock Hill, South Carolina on February 12, 1961, a group of mostly African American students demonstrate against lunch counter segregation downtown; later the clips show the York County prison camp where protesters arrested for demonstrating chose to stay in jail rather than posting bail.
The clip begins with a line of demonstrators, primarily African American students, holding picket signs and walking back in forth in front of a store in downtown Rock Hill, South Carolina. At one point, the students stop walking, hold their signs over their heads, turn around, and walk the other direction. Slogans on the signs include, "Please be a good American--don't buy discrimination here," "McCrory's sent our freedom to the chain gang. Please do not support this action by sitting in this store," and "We want equal rights now." Several young white boys stand on the other side on the demonstrators and try to get the cameraman's attention. Later, two white policemen stand together and speak to one another. Finally, the camera looks through a chain-link fence to the York County Prison Camp.
Sit-in demonstrations against segregated lunch counters began in Greensboro, North Carolina on February 1, 1960 when four African American students from North Carolina Agriculture and Technical State University sat down at a lunch counter in a F.W. Woolworth's store and refused to leave when they were denied service. From the first demonstration sit-ins grew in size in Greensboro and spread to other communities throughout North Carolina and around the country. In Rock Hill, South Carolina, sit-in demonstrations began in February 1960, but were not successful in getting the lunch counters integrated. After nearly a year of demonstrations, on January 31, 1961, ten African American students from Friendship College sat-in at the lunch counter at McCrory's Variety store. The students were arrested, and nine of the ten chose to stay in jail rather than post bail. The actions of the "Friendship Nine" sparked a wave of "jail, no bail" responses to arrest among civil rights workers. Four leaders from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Diane Nash, Ruby Doris Smith, Charles Jones, and Charles Sherrod, traveled to Rock Hill and were also arrested. The four followed the new policy of "jail, no bail."
Title supplied by cataloger.
The Civil Rights Digital Library received support from a National Leadership Grant for Libraries awarded to the University of Georgia by the Institute of Museum and Library Services for digital conversion and description of the WSB-TV Newsfilm Collection.
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Cite as: WSB-TV newsfilm clip of a group of demonstrators, mostly African American students, protesting against lunch counter segregation in town, as well as the York County prison camp where arrested protesters chose to stay in jail rather than posting bail, Rock Hill, South Carolina, 1961 February 12, WSB-TV newsfilm collection, reel 0749, 00:51/01:41, Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection, The University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Ga, as presented in the Digital Library of Georgia.