LOCAL HEROES WITHIN OUR COMMUNITY

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. 

2022 HEROES

Dr. James H. Goudlock lived in Rock Hill from 1932 until his death in 1988. He was president of Friendship Junior College for 41 years, including during the tumultuous Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. He supported Friendship students who initiated the first sit-ins in South Carolina on Feb. 12, 1960, when they demonstrated at four downtown Rock Hill businesses. Friendship students continued protests the following year, culminating in the arrests of the “Friendship Nine,” whose “Jail-No-Bail” stance would become a model for protests throughout the South.

The Freedom Rides, occurring between May and December 1961, comprised one of the most important protests leading to the destruction of the Jim Crow system in the South. 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. 

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. 

Recognition Event

Tuesday, November 16, 2022 at 6 PM
Location: The Gathering Space behind Kounter Restaurant (formerly the Palmetto Room)
135 E. Main Street, Rock Hill, SC 29730
Reception outside at Freedom Walkway to follow. 

2020 HEROES

2019 HEROES

2018 HEROES

MARY E. FRAYSER

BUCK GEORGE

THE CITY GIRLS: Phyllis Thompson Hyatt • Peggy Archie Long • Olivette McClurkin 

Essie Porter Ramseur • Lucille Wallace Reese • Patricia Hinton Sims • Elsie White Springs

2017 HEROES

 BROTHER 

 DAVID BOONE 

 CHIEF 

 GILBERT BLUE  

 MARSHALL 

 DOSWELL

 REVEREND 

 CECIL IVORY  

2016 HEROES

 JAMES 
WILLIAMS 

 BOBBY PLAIR 

 DR. W. 

 W. FENNELL 

 ADDELENE 

 AUSTIN WHITE 

LOCAL HEROES WITHIN OUR COMMUNITY