Civil Rights Movement

Sarah Delia

In 1961 the Friendship 9, a group of young African-American men, sat at the counter of McCrory’s Five and Dime in Rock Hill, South Carolina. The counter was whites only and the group was quickly arrested. But instead of paying their $100 fine, they served 30 days in jail. They weren’t the first to peacefully protest and sit in a white only section, but they were credited with the creation of the “jail, not bail” strategy.

Friday night, remaining members of the Friendship 9 will speak at Emmett Scott Center, sharing their memories and their thoughts on civil rights today.

Mavis Staples of the legendary Staple Singers got her start as a teenager in the 50s in her family’s band.  In the 60s, the Staple Singers, led the by the patriarch Roebuck “Pops” Staples, become well-known as a voice of the Civil Rights movement.  Mavis Staples is performing at Wingate University this evening.  Morning Edition host Marshall Terry caught up with her before the show, and asked her about her memories of the Civil Rights era.

Marshall Terry / 90.7 WFAE

In 1961, 10 African-Americans were convicted of trespassing and breach of the peace for refusing to leave a McCrory’s store all-white lunch counter in downtown Rock Hill, South Carolina. The men were given two options at sentencing: serve 30 days in jail, or pay a $100 dollar fine.  Nine of the 10 chose jail and received 30 days of hard labor at the York County Prison farm. It was the beginning of the “Jail, No Bail” strategy of the Civil Rights Movement. That group of nine is known as the Friendship Nine, named for the junior college many of them attended.

Their convictions are still on the books. That will change today.

York County’s Solicitor Kevin Brackett will tell a judge the convictions should be cleared. WFAE's Marshall Terry spoke to him outside the courtroom where today’s hearing will take place.

Today is the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the result of years of efforts and turbulence in America.  Freedom rides, sit-ins, and open racism in education and employment were commonplace. The success of the act was the bipartisan work of many now- iconic American figures, including two presidents. We’ll hear the dramatic details about the effort to ensure freedom for all.

Part One: Soledad O'Brien on 'Black in America.' Soledad O'Brien is an award-winning journalist, documentarian and author. You may remember her as an anchor for CNN, she also does work for Al Jazeera, HBO and National Geographic. She is responsible for CNN's 'Black in America' documentary series, which is intended to be a conversation starter about race in America. Now she's taking that conversation on the road in the form of a town hall and she's bringing it to Charlotte. As a person of mixed race, with a black Afro-Cuban mother and white Australian father of Irish descent, she has faced complicated questions about race herself, on camera and off. She has often had to answer questions like, "what are you?" Ahead of her 'Black in America Town Hall' tonight at Knight Theatre, Soledad O'Brien joins us to share her story and discuss the challenging and often divisive issues of race, class, opportunity and social change.

By all accounts, Dr. Benjamin Chavis is a North Carolina legacy. The civil rights leader was not only on the forefront of civil rights protests in the state as a student at UNC Charlotte but he went on to serve in national leadership roles for the NAACP, the Million Man March and more. In 2010 a major feature film was made in North Carolina titled Blood Done Sign My Name. Dr. Chavis’ life and career was a focus of the film. Dr. Chavis returns to UNC Charlotte for a slate of events, including a screening of the film. He’ll share highlights of his career and discuss civil rights in our time.

Hundreds Honor Franklin McCain's Legacy At Funeral

Jan 21, 2014
Tasnim Shamma

Friends, family, university presidents and politicians gathered for the funeral of civil rights pioneer Franklin McCain Friday afternoon at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church.  McCain was one of four African-American college students who sat down at an all-white lunch counter in Greensboro in 1960 that helped spur sit-ins across the country.

Jeff Tiberii / NC Public Radio

The funeral for civil rights pioneer Franklin McCain is Friday in Charlotte. McCain was one the four teenagers who sat down at a segregated lunch counter in Greensboro on February 1st, 1960. Yesterday, close to 1,000 people turned out to his alma matter North Carolina A&T State University to remember him. Jeff Tiberii of North Carolina Public Radio was there and filed this report.