NAACP Votes To Boycott South Carolina

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

( - The national board of the NAACP has approved a tourism boycott of South Carolina until the Palmetto State removes the Confederate civil war battle flag from the Statehouse dome in Columbia.

NAACP spokeswoman Sheila Douglas said, "The ratification officially mobilizes all of our chapters and members not to visit or spend dollars in South Carolina until the flag is removed." A spokesperson for South Carolina Governor Jim Hodges said the boycott decision will make it harder to get a compromise to resolve the issue.

The boycott is set to begin January 1st. Supporters say the Confederate flag represents Southern heritage and honors South Carolinians who died in the Civil War. The NAACP contends the flag is a symbol of racism.

The South Carolina branch of the NAACP proposed the tourism boycott of the state. Several groups from around America have already canceled plans to hold meetings and conventions in South Carolina since the NAACP called for the boycott.

The Seventh Day Adventist Church canceled a meeting that would have brought 7,000 people to Columbia in March. State officials say that would have brought an estimated $500,000 worth of tourism business. NAACP officials at the South Carolina chapter office in Columbia say 42 state and national groups have now joined the boycott, either canceling meetings or holding them out of state.

The flag controversy has raged in South Carolina for years. It is the only state in the nation to fly the Confederate flag over its statehouse, although Georgia and Mississippi incorporate part of the design into their state flags.