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2022 Local Heroes
Each year, the City of Rock Hill honors local heroes and records their stories here. Freedom Walkway recognizes heroes of the past, present and future whose efforts helped to promote
justice and equality for all.
Dr. James H.
Quiet Warrior for Freedom,
Justice & Equality
Dr. Goudlock created a climate and culture at his college that encouraged students, faculty and staff to strive for social, moral and political justice. He established Friendship as a sanctuary where individuals involved in the Movement found shelter, food and protection. A notable example occurred on May 9, 1961, when several Freedom Riders, including future congressman John Lewis, were attacked at the Greyhound bus terminal. They received medical treatment at Friendship, attended a mass meeting and spent the night on campus.
Herman K. Harris was the son of sharecroppers, raised in Heath Springs, S.C., about 36 miles southeast of Rock Hill. A gifted athlete, he finished high school in 1959 and enrolled at Friendship Junior College. In February 1960 Friendship students launched the first lunch counter sit-ins in South Carolina, followed by months of picketing and protests. Initially, Harris stayed on the sidelines; nothing in his rural upbringing had prepared him to challenge racial segregation. Within a short time, however, he joined the protests and became a fervent champion of civil rights.
Defied KKK Terror
Elias Hill was born into slavery in York County in May of 1819. His mother, Dorcus, was enslaved on the plantation of Revolutionary War veteran Col. William Hill. At the age of seven, he was diagnosed with a debilitating, degenerative disease that left him unable to walk. Around 1840 Elias’ father was able to save enough money to purchase his own freedom for $150. Soon thereafter, he purchased his wife, Dorcus, and was “compelled… in the contract” to take Elias as well because his condition made him unable to work.
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