Ernest Finney was the first African American chief justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court. He left an indelible mark on the legal system with his unwavering commitment to justice and equality.
Ernest Finney was the attorney for the "Friendship Nine," a group of African American men who were arrested and convicted in 1961 for staging a sit-in at a whites-only lunch counter in Rock Hill, South Carolina. He helped to argue their case before the South Carolina Supreme Court.
Although they were originally found guilty and sentenced to prison, Finney helped to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which overturned the convictions.
Finney's efforts helped to bring national attention to the Civil Rights Movement and the fight against segregation in the South.