Dr. George Garrison
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This interview was conducted by Dr. George Garrison with James Wells with a focus on the History of Emmett Scott High School. Emmett Scott was the segregated high school for African-Americans, which was named after Emmett Scott, a former aide to Booker T. Washington and President Woodrow Wilson. The school opened in 1920 and was closed in 1970 when full integration was implemented in Rock Hill, SC schools. Mr. James F. Wells (b. ca. 1942 - d. 2018) was a native of Rock Hill, SC and graduated from Emmett Scott High School in 1959 and attended Friendship Junior College. He was a member of a South Carolina civil rights group known as the Friendship Nine and spent a month in jail in 1961 after he and eight other black men were charged with trespassing at a whites-only lunch counter (McCrory’s) in Rock Hill. The men, who were attending nearby Friendship Junior College, chose to spend time in jail rather than pay a fine in what was called the "jail, no bail" movement. Their time on a chain gang in York County encouraged protesters to stay in jail to fight segregation, Jim Crow laws and other forms of racism. In the interview Mr. Wells discusses his experiences growing up in the area, attending the Emmett Scott High School and Friendship Junior College, his role in the Friendship Nine, and the Civil Rights movement in general.
Wells, James F.; Emmett Scott High School; Friendship College; Friendship Nine; and Civil Rights, "Interview with James F. Wells" (2012). Winthrop University Oral History Program. OH 682.