COLUMBIA — The South Carolina chapter of the NAACP plans to honor civil rights pioneers from Rock Hill at its annual Freedom Fund Celebration.

The civil rights group’s big dinner is Friday in Columbia.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People will honor the Friendship Nine, who pioneered the sit-in strategy of being arrested and refusing bail for sitting at whites-only lunch counters 50 years ago.

The group also plans to honor several others for their contribution to equal rights.

The keynote speaker at the dinner will be U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles.

The NAACP says the goal of the dinner is to honor the courage and determination that turned a lawsuit over whites-only schools in Clarendon County into the U.S. Supreme Court case that outlawed segregation.