Friendship Nine Member Reflects on Racial Equality, Protests


ROCK HILL, S.C. (CN2 NEWS) In 1961, nine black students from Friendship Junior College sat down at a segregated lunch counter in Rock Hill to protest for racial equality.  They were arrested, charged and sentenced to 28 days in a labor prison.

David Williamson was one of those young men. Six decades later, he says what happened to George Floyd has been happening since America was founded.  The difference, says Williamson, is that it’s now being recorded.

“People didn’t believe it until they saw it,” said Williamson, “And they realized that this is going on and has been going on.”

Williamson says he felt sick watching Floyd’s death on video, but inspired by the peaceful protests happening all across the country.  His advice to young people is to keep things peaceful.

“Everything you’re doing, do it peacefully. Because all they want you to do is step out of line so they could have a reason to abuse you.”

Williamson describes hate as something that will conquer America if people don’t fight against it.

“The only way America can be destroyed is if we destroy it from within,” He cautioned, “We don’t have to worry about the people on the outside. We’re destroying ourselves from within.”

Williamson is also pushing more people to vote for elected officials who are not afraid to speak out and take action against racism.

“You’ve got to have people in change that will really fight for the change that you want. You just don’t want somebody in there rubber-stamping everything, and going on with whatever anybody says.”

Sixty years ago, Williamson was protesting for change. Sixty years later, he still believes in a better tomorrow.

“Oh, I definitely believe that things are going to get better. The young people — that’s where I put my hope in.”