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A Key Member of the Historic Friendship Nine Passes Away

Civil rights memorial tribute

A Key Member of the Historic Friendship Nine Passes Away

Rock Hill mourns the loss of a significant figure in the Civil Rights Movement, Mack Workman, a member of the historic Friendship Nine. Workman sadly bowed out of life this week at the remarkable age of 81.

The Legacy of Mack Workman and the Friendship Nine

Workman’s legacy is intrinsically linked with that of the Friendship Nine, a group of nine African American students who bravely championed the cause of racial equality in Rock Hill during the early 1960s. As students at Friendship Junior College, the group staged a sit-in at the formerly racially segregated McCrory’s Five and Dime “whites only” lunch counter in 1961.

Mack Workman, along with the eight other students, boldly chose to serve a month’s sentence in York County Jail, preferring this choice over paying the levied fine. Their decision stemmed from a strategic goal to affect the economics of segregation and place a financial burden on the local jail system.

Inspiring Civil Rights Movement – The ‘Jail No Bail’ Strategy

The ‘Jail No Bail’ tactic initiated by the Friendship Nine soon inspired Civil Rights activists across the nation. It led to a significant shift in the operational tactics of the Civil Rights Movement.More activists started rejecting the option to pay fines to get out of jail, which made segregation policies more economically burdensome to maintain.

Workman’s journey didn’t stop there. After graduating from Emmett Scott High School in Rock Hill in 1960, he went on to pursue studies at Friendship Junior College. He then moved to New York in the ’60s, where he resided until his last breath. Despite his move away, his influence remained profoundly present in his hometown.

Workman’s Enduring Legacy

The courage shown by Mack Workman and his fellow Friendship Nine members during the Civil Rights Movement continues to resonate and inspire activist initiatives for racial equality. For his relentless fight against segregation and undying spirit, Rock Hill will always remember him.

HERE Rock Hill
Author: HERE Rock Hill

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