Monday 22 March 2021

ROCK HILL: COUNTER HISTORIES - The Friendship 9 – a civil rights protest that changed history – told in a groundbreaking film on digital 26th April

The story of the Friendship 9 carries huge significance in the battle to end segregation in Southern American states. The nine men’s powerful and moving stand helped change history, but is one of the lesser-known incidents, among the many that shaped the civil rights movement of 1960s America. 

Now the story of the heroes who chose to go to jail – serving hard labour sentences and rationed to bread and water – is told in feature Rock Hill – Counter Histories which is set for it UK premiere on digital on 26 April 2021, courtesy of Reel to Reel Films.

Some 40 years after a brave group of African Americans took up seats set aside for whites only at the counter of a café in the South Carolina town of Rock Hill, this groundbreaking documentary, which blends archive footage with recreations and new interviews with the protagonists, can tell the inspiring real tale of the Friendship 9.

The group, so called because of the school many of them attended, took a new route for Civil Rights activists as the movement and opposition to it intensified. To help the cause and save money that could be better spent elsewhere, they opted for a new strategy – jail, no bail, eschewing paying up and instead being sent to serve 30 days’ hard labour. Their brave move enabled the movement to better use its resources and represented a shift in the battle for equal rights.

The award-winning documentary, which has played at festivals around the world, interviews original members of the Friendship 9, and others in and around the incident.

The must-watch Rock Hill – Counter Histories sheds light on an important historical moment through the words of the brave people who helped shape history.

Released on digital Monday 26th April