The NAACP on Saturday said it has voted to end the organization’s 15-year boycott of South Carolina, a day after the Confederate battle flag came down from the Statehouse grounds in Columbia.
The civil rights organization said in a tweet that its national board of directors passed an emergency resolution to end the boycott, which has been in effect since 2000.
NAACP President Cornell William Brooks called the Confederate battle flag “one of the longest standing symbols of hatred and exclusion” on Thursday, after the South Carolina House of Representatives voted to remove the flag from public grounds.
The push to remove the Confederate battle flag from the Statehouse grounds came after a white gunman fatally shot nine people at the historic black church Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal in Charleston on June 17, in a massacre that police have called a hate crime.
“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,” Brooks said in a statement Thursday.
The NCAA also boycotted South Carolina over the controversy surrounding the Confederate flag.
Since 2001, the state has been barred from hosting any pre-selected NCAA events, although two rounds of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament were played in Greenville in 2002 because the location had been agreed upon before the moratorium went into effect.
With the Confederate battle flag’s removal, NCAA Board of Governors Chairman Kirk Schulz said that he’s open to South Carolina bidding to host future tournaments, including March Madness events.