The South Carolina Conference of the NAACP will recognize a number of South Carolinians from a variety of fields at the civil rights organization’s annual Freedom Fund Celebration Friday evening. The event will be at 6 pm at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.
South Carolina NAACP Executive Director Dwight James says U.S. Attorney for the South Carolina District William Nettles will deliver the keynote address. James says the program is a time for the local chapter to honor individuals who have impacted the fight for equal rights in the past and present, that they may inspire those who endeavor to seek equal rights for all people in the future.
The program will honor “The Friendship Nine,” a group of African American men who went to jail after staging a sit-in at a segregated McCrory’s lunch counter in Rock Hill in 1961. James says the group gained nationwide attention because they followed an at that time untried strategy called “jail, no bail.”
James says seven of the eight living members are expected to attend the gathering. The group was called the “Friendship Nine” because eight of the nine were students at Friendship Junior College in Rock Hill.
James says honorees receiving the Human Rights Advocacy Award include well-known Midlands attorney and former politician Tom Turnipseed and his wife Judy. Awards will also be presented to people in the fields of education advocacy, journalism, and civic advocacy.
James says the program will also honor the plaintiffs in the 1952 Briggs v. Elliott case that fought to end state-sponsored segregation of public schools in Clarendon County. The case was the first of five combined into the landmark 1954 U.S. Supreme Court Brown v. Board of Education case.
For more information on the Freedom Fund Celebration, you can visit scnaacp.org.