If Rock Hill was a war-zone, the most pivotal battle was February 12, 1960. For months before that date, local churches, students, and members of the NAACP planned a mass sit-in protest at lunch counters throughout the town. Protests by whites ensued, and as a result of the protest, the lunch-counters countered the sit-in by shutting down, and refusing to serve. The sit-in was successful, and gave African Americans a small taste of victory.
Leading the Rock Hill movement was a minister named Reverend Cecil Ivory, a proponent of using non-violent tactics to combat segregation. For Rev. Ivory, the Friendship College students were his foot-soldiers. There were various socio-economic reasons why more young people joined the movements compared to adults.