Thursday, July 18 2024

A legend in the South Carolina civil rights movement and a member of the Friendship 9 died earlier this month. John Alexander Gaines protested segregation in his hometown of Rock Hill in 1961 and spent a month in the York County Jail. He died June 5 at the age of 83.

Gaines was a retired lawyer and lived in Florence. He is of course affiliated with the Friendship Junior College who were all arrested at a lunch counter in Rock Hill that was “whites only” at the time. The “Jail, No Bail” movement was crucial to bringing attention to segregated conditions in the country. He along with others in the group helped spark positive change during the era. Gaines was a student leader of the NAACP and helped organize numerous Rock Hill protests during the civil rights era. He was a graduate from Benedict College as well as Howard University Law School. He was part of the NAACP Legal defense team in Florence.

Funeral services for Mr. Gaines are still pending.

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