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SC civil rights protesters 'Friendship Nine' to have records erased

Six members of the Friendship Nine. (Source: FriendshipCollege.org) Six members of the Friendship Nine. (Source: FriendshipCollege.org)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Nine black men are getting a new day in court in South Carolina, 54 years after they served a month of hard labor for ordering food at a whites-only lunch counter.

A prosecutor is expected to ask a judge Wednesday to vacate the trespassing and breach-of-peace convictions of the men known as the Friendship Nine.

Eight Friendship Junior College students and a civil rights organizer were arrested in February 1961 for ordering lunch from a whites-only counter in Rock Hill. Convicted of trespassing and breach of peace, the men opted for a month's hard labor rather than allow bail to be posted for them by civil rights groups.

Their no-bail example was followed by other demonstrators throughout the South.

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