Rock Hill, SC
Though Friendship College has been gone for more than 30 years, it still exists in the memories of its graduates and in the dreams that it may once again reopen, and even in the blueprints for a new and vital Friendship College. It still maintains a board of trustees and an alumni association with regular reunions. The banner comes from the Friendship College website.
Friendship Normal and Industrial Institute grew out of activities of the Baptist Sunday School conventions of York and Chester Counties in South Carolina. These conventions met on fifth Sundays for a day of readings, speeches and preaching. So the impulse for a school was to provide training for future teachers and ministers. Dr. Mansel P. Hall, pastor of churches in both conventions, encouraged them to work together to create such a school.
On October 12, 1891 the school began with 11 students, meeting in Mt. Prospect Baptist Church until a new building was complete. A primary, grammar and high school, Friendship grew quickly until its enrollment reached 200 in the fourth year. It was incorporated in 1906 and had an enrollment of 300 in 1908 according to Era of Progress and Promise.
During the 41-year tenure of President James A Goudlock, Friendship College reorganized at three levels—an elementary school (grades 1-8), a high school, and a junior college. The junior college had two wings—teacher training and liberal arts. The strength of the curriculum allowed graduates to receive teaching certificates without examination. In 1978 the school received state approval for four-year programs in accounting, business administration and economics.
Friendship College made headlines in 1961 when a group of students staged a sit-in at a segregated lunch counter in Rock Hill, SC. Jailed, the students refused bail. In this they established a Civil Rights strategy called “Jail No Bail”and became known as the Friendship Nine.
Even with a listed enrollment of 368, Friendship College was beginning to experience financial difficulties in 1980 and was forced to file for bankruptcy in December of 1981.
Bricks and Mortar
Friendship College was built on 8.8 acres of land in Rock Hill. At one point, five acres of the campus were under cultivation as a truck patch to help fed the students. During the Great Depresion, Friendship leased and later purchased more than 200 acres to farm. After the college closed, the land was sold to help cover the school debts.
The 1914 ad for the school mentions four buildings, one of which, was called Main Building. College Hall was reported to have dormitory space for 44 girls in the upper floor, in addition to a chapel, offices and classrooms.
After the college closed, a major fire burned and damaged campus buildings to the extent that all had to be razed. In 2011 the Baptist Church and Friendship College alumni were raising funds for a Dr. J. H. Goudlock Life Center to be built on the site of the college.
(Above) Original Friendship Institute building (Era of Progress and Promise <digital.ncdcr.gov/cdm/ref/collection/p249901coll37/id/4425> accessed 10-29-2017
Team name: Tigers
Colors: Purple and Gold
Friendship College seems to have had teams in football, basketball and baseball. Newspapers in Genealogy Bank show a few results in basketball and baseball up until the school closed. It was a member of the South Atlantic Athletic Conference made up of black, two-year schools. We know that the Friendship College Nine was originally ten, but that one was a basketball player whose fine was paid to preserve his eligibility.
College Football Data Warehouse shows sporadic results from the mid 1930’s to the early 60’s. In the 1950’s Friendship was a member of the Eastern Intercollegiate Conference along with South Carolina Trade, Kittrell, Voorhees, Livingstone, Morristown, and Norfolk State. In 1958 Friendship compiled a 0-5 record in the conference.
Among the few results were a 106-0 loss to Florida Normal in 1947 and a 142-0 loss to Edward Waters in 1964.