McCrory's Building & Lunch Counter | Olde English District

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McCrory's Building & Lunch Counter

135 East Main St.
Rock Hill, SC 29730
(803) 329-5200 or (803) 328-3463

McCrory’s was a department store chain founded by a Pennsylvania entrepreneur named John McCrory. Its first store in Rock Hill, SC was opened in 1918 and the building became known as the “McCrory’s Building.” By 1960 McCrory’s had begun calling its stores “McCrory’s 5-10-25 Cent Variety Store” It was during this decade that the store became the target for civil rights protesters in the south. Like most other retail establishments, McCrory’s stores did not allow blacks to eat at the lunch counters. African-Americans could shop in the stores and purchase take-out orders, but were not allowed to sit at lunch counters and eat along with white customers. Beginning in 1960, the Rock Hill McCrory’s, along with Woolworth’s and several other downtown establishments, was the site of several lunch counter sit-ins. Protestors (9 young men) from the nearby Friendship Junior College targeted McCrory’s and Woolworth’s on February 12, 1960, resulting in the lunch counters being closed for several days. The most famous of these protests occurred at McCrory’s on January 31, 1961, and resulted in the “Friendship Nine” incident, and garnered national attention because of the “jail, no bail” strategy. This previously untried strategy lessened the huge financial burden civil rights groups were facing as the “sit-in” movement spread across the South, ultimately changing the face of American business by granting equal service to African-Americans. The stools from the former McCrory’s lunch counter remain in place.