Leadership

After Flag Goes Down, NAACP Lifts South Carolina Boycott

The board of directors of the leading civil rights group ended its 15-year-long boycott of the state on Saturday, just one day after the Confederate flag was lowered from the South Carolina capitol grounds. The success could help the association build momentum in other fights around the historic flag.

The board of directors of the leading civil rights group ended its 15-year-long boycott of the state on Saturday, just one day after the Confederate flag was lowered from the South Carolina capitol grounds. The success could help the association build momentum in other fights around the historic flag.

South Carolina’s decision to keep a Confederate flag waving at its capitol grounds had a dramatic impact on the state and its economy.

The decision to take said flag down led to equally dramatic effects—particularly from the NAACP, which voted on Saturday to end a longstanding economic boycott of the state over the issue. The association emphasizes that the flag’s removal was symbolic, but important.

“[W]hile removal of the flag was clearly a victory for the NAACP and a defeat for promoters of hate, the NAACP clearly recognizes that there are still battles to be fought in other states and jurisdictions where emblems of hate and oppression continue to be celebrated,” the group’s emergency resolution stated.

The state’s decision to drop the flag, which first went up in 1962 and resurfaced in the news after a deadly church shooting in Charleston, is a major victory for the NAACP, which had opposed what it saw as a symbol against the civl rights movement. It noted in the resolution that if it had given in early, “it would have easily given strength and support to those elements within society” interested in perpetuating hatred.

“By removing the flag, South Carolina not only denounces an odious emblem of a bygone era but also honors the lives of nine students of scripture who were gunned down in a church, including that of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, the former South Carolina state senator,” NAACP President Cornell William Brooks said on Thursday, in comments ahead of the flag’s takedown from the state’s grounds.

The Next Battle?

The emergency resolution came as NAACP’s members met in Philadelphia this week for the group’s 106th annual meeting. The momentum around the takedown could go beyond South Carolina to Mississippi, where the battle flag is integrated into the state’s own flag. Already, the Mississippi chapter of the NAACP is calling for a change to the state’s flag.

“We appeal to Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant to recognize the moral urgency for Mississippi to move without delay toward our next phase of progression,” Mississippi NAACP President Derrick Johnson told the Associated Press. “It’s time to write the next chapter of our history.”

The Confederate battle flag is permanently removed from the South Carolina statehouse grounds on Friday. (Jason Miczek/Reuters)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a senior editor for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!


Comments