137 East Main Street
Rock Hill City Directories and History: 1908-09 No Listing, 1913-14 [135-137] RH Supply Co – Misc., 1917 – R.W. Crawford Co., 1922-23 R.W. Crawford Co.,1936 Home Stores, Grocery, 1938 [135-137] McCory Stores Corp., 1968 – McCory Stores Corp., 1970 – McCory (McCrory) Stores Corp., 1976 - McCory Stores Corp., 1985 – McCory Stores Corp.
Built as a rental investment property by Mr. A.D. Holler – Contractor, for Mr. James S. White Jr., the grandson of Ann and George White, this was to become a very lucrative parcel. Mr. James S. White was a local real estate developer and a member of the 1911 Board of Directors of Home Federal Savings and Loan. His building was designed by Lancaster, S.C., architect, H.E. White, the building offered a handsome brick facade to compliment many of Rock Hill’s commercial properties being constructed in the early 20th century. This was a flourishing economic period and massive population growth in Rock Hill’s short history. He later had an addition to the building constructed by local contractor W.M. Mitchell, a well known Rock Hill builder. In a letter to his wife, Mr. White justifies the addition by stating the amount of rent they receive will more than pay for the addition and ultimately increase their family income. Mr. White maintained his offices on the second floor of the building.
The Herald reported on April 28, 1925 that J.S. White received a permit to repair his store building on East Main street at a cost of $1,5000. Later the Herald reported on May 5, 1925 that Moore – Sykes opened in this building partners were F.H. Moore and J.B. Sykes. The staff included: Barber Sykes, Mrs. Fennell Craig, Ms. Cornelia Steele, Mrs. V.A. Rodden, and Mrs. H.H. Chambers. In the rear was the Bon Ton Millinery with Ms. Minnie O’Neal and Ms. Fannie Allen.
The Rock Hill Supply Company occupied both sides of the White Building during the early 1910′s but for most older Rock Hillians, the building was always the McCrory Five and Dime.
The Friendship Nine is the name given to a group of college students who served as pioneers for the lunch counter sit-ins in protest against discrimination. Their motto was “Jail, No Bail,” which set a national precedent for demonstrators to choose lockup instead of bailing out to demand justice. The motto became a trend all over the nation during the civil rights movement.
Fifty years ago on this day in 1961, nine students from Friendship College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and one young member from the Congress of Racial Equality sat down at the counter of McCrory’s 5-10-25¢ Variety Store downtown. They were part of an anticipated protest that had the local authorities on standby. The protest began with women holding picket signs in front of the store, chanting as the men entered the restaurant. They were asked, but refused to leave.
Before staging the protest, the 10 men had agreed to do their jail time instead of paying money to the same state system that allowed the discrimination. At 11:30 a.m., all of the men were arrested and taken to jail and charged with trespassing, charges they had heard before. The 10 men were offered a $100 fine or 30 days at the York County Prison Farm. Nine of them chose the prison term, with the exception of Charles Taylor, who was in danger of losing his athletic scholarship and opted for bail.
While in jail, people traveled to Rock Hill to protest for the Friendship Nine, including members of SNCC, who were also jailed for protesting.
On Jan. 2, 2007, a South Carolina state historical marker commemorating the McCrory’s sit-ins and the Friendship Nine was officially unveiled and dedicated in front of the old McCrory’s building. For additional information please see [http://www.blackamericaweb.com/?q=articles/news/the_black_diaspora_news/25504] AND http://www.friendshipcollege.org/jailnobail.html
It has only recently come to light, that it was Mrs. Mary Smith Jones, a young wife and mother, married to “Red” Jones, who was responsible for the lunch counter at McCrory’s at the time of the sit-in. It was she who was told by management to simply close the counter during the protests. Mrs. Jones, a quiet, thoughtful and distinguished lady, died in Columbia, SC in July – 2011 and never spoke of her minor part in this historic event. Her son, Ronnie Jones spoke elegantly at her funeral of his mother’s part in this sit-in and provided insight into his mother’s discomfort in being thrust into the situation. She took other employment shortly after the sit-in. [WBF and HRH]
The Herald reported on June 27, 1906 on a salvage sale of stock of the R.W. Crawford and Company.