Friendship 9 conviction overturned 54 years later - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Friendship 9 conviction overturned 54 years later

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Wednesday a judge overturned the convictions of nine African-American men, most then college students, sentenced to hard labor for their crime of sitting at a whites-only lunch counter.

The men, eight students at Friendship College and one civil rights leader, protested segregation by sitting at that lunch counter in 1961.

They then chose jail over bail- a strategy that energized the civil rights movement.

They were represented Wednesday by their original lawyer, Ernest Finney, Jr.  

And the judge who tossed the groups' trespassing convictions is the nephew of the judge who sent the men to prison camp in 1961.

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