CHARLESTON, S.C. – The memory of the Civil War collided with modern-day civil rights Monday as protesters targeted a “secession ball,” commemorating South Carolina’s decision 150 years ago to secede from the United States.

NAACP leaders said it made no sense to hold a gala to honor men who committed treason against their own nation for the sake of a system that kept black men and women in bondage as slaves. They compared Confederate leaders to terrorists and Nazi soldiers.

But organizers of the ball said it had nothing to do with celebrating slavery. Instead, the $100-a-person private event was a fundraiser to honor the Southern men who were willing to sacrifice their lives for their homes and their vision of states’ rights.

The organizers do not condone or endorse slavery in any way, said Randy Burbage, vice president of the Confederate Heritage Trust, which put on the event.

Burbage said the NAACP doesn’t help its cause with inflammatory rhetoric.

“Any group that wants to call our ancestors terrorists and compare them to Nazi soldiers, we will not negotiate with. We didn’t need to get their permission to put this thing on, or will we ever seek their permission. We do our thing, they’ll do their thing,” Burbage said.