South Carolina may see an uptick in spending, business, and tourism after a boycott against the state was lifted on Saturday by the country's leading civil rights organization that represents people of color.
Voting in response to officials removing the Confederate flag from the state house grounds on Friday, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People passed an emergency resolution that ends the 15-year boycott at its annual convention in Philadelphia.
The NAACP long held that the battle flag for the pro-slavery South during the Civil War was an enduring racist symbol, viewed as an icon for white supremacists into modern day.
The group had urged businesses and individuals in its 1999 boycott resolution to avoid the state until the flag was removed from its prominent location at the capital.
Cornell William Brooks, the NAACP's president and CEO, had signaled that a vote to end the boycott was imminent.
“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," Brooks said in a statement Friday. "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. This flag should be studied and no longer honored. This legislative decision affirms the 15 years of collective advocacy of the NAACP on both the national and state level to bring down the flag, in particular our 15-year economic boycott of the state that was joined by the NCAA and UAW."
Brooks added, "As we head to Philadelphia for our 106th Annual Convention this Saturday, we can now consider an emergency resolution to lift the economic boycott of the state."
The NACCP's policy handbook outlines the original resolution that called for the boycott.
"The NAACP urges all families planning reunions and other groups, businesses, and corporation to consider locations outside of the state as reunion or meeting sites until such time that the Confederate battle flag is removed from positions of sovereignty in the State of South Carolina," the group's policy guide states.
The boycott has apparently cost the state business, particularly sporting events.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association announced that it lifted its boycott against the state Thursday, the same day Gov. Nikki Haley signed a bill to remove the Confederate flag from state house grounds.
Legislators were spurred to pass the bill after criticism of the flag exploded in June, when nine black people were killed in a Charleston church. Photos showed suspect Dylann Roof holding the Confederate flag.
The NCAA had skipped major basketball games in South Carolina. But, the group said in a statement, "Cities in South Carolina are now eligible to host NCAA basketball tournaments, conference baseball tournaments and even bowl games."
Small business owners expressed optimism earlier this week that removing the flag would be an economic boon.
"All the business community will like to see the Confederate battle flag removed from the state house grounds and moved to be placed in the Confederate relic room," Frank Knapp, the CEO of the SC Small Business Chamber of Commerce, told WLTX. "For sure what we're going to see is an ability to get some sporting events to come to South Carolina that have bypassed South Carolina, so definitely we'll see an economic impact from that."
The NAACP did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News' request for comment.
Dominic Holden is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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