Friendship Nine and Iconic Civil Rights Era to be recognized during Conference at SC State

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Most deem the Civil Rights Movement as a pivotal point in history which changed all lives forever. Dr. Larry Watson, associate professor of history and Faculty Senate president at SC State University, would agree.The Civil Rights Movement energized more than just African Americans. It effectively changed the political, cultural and social landscapes of America and the world,” says Watson.


A movement so strong should always be reflected upon and remembered. That’s why Congressman James E. Clyburn and others are participating in the National Council of History Education’s conference: South Carolina and the Civil Rights Struggle.  While there were numerous civil rights movements, one such movement gained acclaim in South Carolina, and it involved the “Friendship Nine.” The conference, to be held in SC State’s Dr. Barbara A. Vaughan Recital Hall on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday, Feb. 24, 2012 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., will feature the remaining members of the “Friendship Nine.” These men embarked on a sit-in at the McCrory’s lunch counter in Rock Hill, S.C. that led them to choose to serve 30 days in jail in protest of segregation in South Carolina and in the nation.  According to Watson, their historic “Jail, No Bail” stand against discrimination was a hallmark of the Civil Rights conflict.


“If we were to advance our image as the beacon of democracy, we had to show that we treated our own citizens as equal,” says Watson. “Once African Americans and their supporters increased their demand for civil rights, other groups, both globally and nationally, demanded better treatment.  Africans, Middle Easterners and Asians threw off the yoke of colonialism.  Native Americans, Mexican-Americans, as well as women and youth all demanded fair treatment.”


Many noted scholars of the movement will join Watson in spreading the message about South Carolina and the Civil Rights struggle. Guest speakers include: John Brittain, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; Cedric Johnson, University of Illinois; Brack Clemons, South Carolina Educational Television; Maureen Costello, Southern Poverty Law Center; Marcus Cox, The Citadel; Connie Geer, University of South Carolina; Darlene Clark Hine, Purdue University; William Hine, SC State University; Willie Legette, SC State University; Valinda Littlefield, University of South Carolina; Emily Manigault, Richland School District #2; Chanda Robinson, South Carolina Department of Education; Cleveland Sellers, Voorhees College; Patricia Sullivan, University of South Carolina; Marc Turner, Richland School District #2; Garlen Wesson, SC State University; Millicent Brown , Claflin University  and Cecil Williams, Cecil Williams Photography.


The conference is designed for all audiences; however, several sessions are especially designed for k-12 instructors and other teachers and students of the Civil Rights Movement. Advanced registration is available now by visiting www.nche.net. On-site Registration for the conference will take place Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012 beginning at 5 p.m. and on Friday, Feb. 24, 2012 beginning at 7 a.m. For additional information, visit www.nche.net or contact Dr. Larry Watson at 803-536-7243 or 803-536-8914