The NAACP announced Saturday it had lifted its 15-year-old boycott of South Carolina. The organization said an "emergency resolution" from its national board of directors ended the boycott.
Breaking--Emergency resolution passed by the NAACP National Board of Directors at #NAACP106, ending the 15 year South Carolina boycott.
— NAACP (@NAACP) July 11, 2015
The resolution was introduced earlier this week, following approval of a bill to remove Confederate flag from the South Carolina Capitol grounds, WCIV, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, reported. The flag was removed following a racially motivated shooting at a historically black church that killed nine African-Americans in Charleston, South Carolina.
President Barack Obama, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and many other national and local politicians called for the flag, as a symbol of the continued legacy of violence and racism in America, to be taken down after the shooting.
The boycott began in 2000, the same year the Confederate flag was moved from atop the the Capitol building to an area on Statehouse grounds. After legislation was approved Thursday to remove the flag for good, simply awaiting the signature of South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, NAACP President Cornell William Brooks said in the statement.
The NAACP applauds the South Carolina Legislature for voting to remove the Confederate battle flag -- one of the longest standing symbols of hatred and exclusion -- from public spaces and state Capitol grounds today. The confederate battle flag as a symbolic stain of racism has been dismissed from the state Capitol grounds and may now be deposited to a museum.
The NCAA and the United Auto Workers were among the groups that observed the boycott, the Huffington Post reported. The NCAA also ended its boycott of the state, which had prevented South Carolina from hosting championships. The NAACP said the decision to bring the flag down backed up its choice to boycott the state for 15 years. In 2000, the boycott led the New York Knicks to cancel a preplayoff camp in Charleston and tennis player Serena Williams to withdraw from the Family Circle Cup tennis tournament, the Post and Courier reported.
"This legislative decision affirms the 15 years of collective advocacy of the NAACP on both the national and state levels to bring down the flag, in particular our 15-year economic boycott of the state that was joined by the NCAA and UAW," Brooks said in Thursday's statement.
Following a fair bit of debate about the flag -- by some considered a sign of Southern heritage, others racism and slavery -- it was brought down on Friday to chants of "USA, USA!" Reuters reported.
(This story includes reporting from Eben Blake)