Interview with Rev. Dr. William P. Diggs


Dr. George Garrison



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This interview was conducted by Dr. George Garrison with Reverend Dr. William P. Diggs with a focus on the Civil Rights Movement in Rock Hill, SC and his evolvement with planning the first sit-in demonstration held in Rock Hill, SC on February 12, 1960, which pre-dated the “Friendship Nine” sit-in held the following year. This February 12, 1960 sit-in included about 100 black students (many from Friendship Junior College) who staged sit-ins at various lunch counters around town. In this interview Rev, Diggs talks about the events as well as the civil rights movement in general. He also discusses growing up in South Carolina and living in Rock Hill, SC.

“Rev. Dr. William P. Diggs[1]

A leader in the church and community, the Rev. Dr. William P. Diggs contributed decades of his life for the betterment of the lives of South Carolinians. He was born in Columbia, South Carolina in 1926 and reared in Rock Hill. He earned several degrees: a Bachelor of Arts from Morehouse College; a Master of Arts in Sociology from Atlanta University; a Master of Divinity from Colgate-Rochester Divinity School; and a Doctor of Ministry from McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago.

He helped organize South Carolina’s first sit-in demonstrations, held Feb. 12, 1960 in Rock Hill, primarily involving students from Friendship Junior College. As pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Florence, SC for more than fifty years, he facilitated: the purchase of additional property; establishment of a highly acclaimed preschool ministry; a federally operated credit union; and purchase of commercial property that includes barber shops, beauty salons and a restaurant.

In addition, he has contributed his time and expertise to many institutions and organizations. He served as an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Friendship, Benedict and Morris colleges for an aggregate of twenty-four years. Diggs has served as board member of Friendship, Benedict and Morris colleges; Morehouse School of Religion; the Interdenominational Theological Center; Nannie Helen Burroughs School; the Greater Florence Habitat for Humanity; and the Florence Mayor’s Human Relations Committee. He has also served as president of the Florence Branch of the NAACP.

He is a recipient of numerous awards and honors including: the Order of the Palmetto; SC Black Hall of Fame; The Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce “Building the Bridges Humanitarian Award”; and seven honorary degrees.

Diggs retired from the pastorate in December 2013. He has been married to Clotilda Daniels Diggs for 62 years, and the couple has two adult children — Mary Lynne and William, Jr. (Lennette). They have one grandson, William II.”

Dr. Diggs dedicated his life and work to the betterment of lives for South Carolinians. Dr. Diggs helped organize the first sit-in demonstrations in South Carolina, February 12, 1960, primarily involving Friendship Junior College students which predated the Friendship Nine sit-in the following year.

[1] South Carolina African American:

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OH 687







Interview with Rev. Dr. William P. Diggs