• COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – A judge has tossed out the convictions of nine South Carolina black men who integrated a whites-only lunch counter during the height of the civil rights movement.
• Judge Mark Hayes on Wednesday made the ruling for the men known as the Friendship 9.
• “We cannot rewrite history but we can right history,” the judge said. He then signed the order.
Fifty-four-years ago, eight college students and one civil rights organizer were convicted of trespassing and protesting at McCrory variety store in Rock Hill.
They opted for a month of hard labor in a chain gang rather than allow bail money to be posted for them by civil rights groups.
The decision drew national headlines and set the standard for the “jail, no bail” policy emulated by other protesters around the South.