16 Jan 2002 Project 21 Press Release: NAACP Intimidation Tactics in South Carolina Criticized
As the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) prepares to deploy “border patrols” to enforce their boycott of the state of South Carolina, the African-American leadership network Project 21 is highly critical of the NAACP’s intimidation tactics and the risk the boycott poses to the state’s African-American residents.
As a way of enforcing the group’s national campaign to discourage South Carolina tourism, NAACP National Field Director Nelson B. Rivers III told The State newspaper: “The border patrol is our way of standing at Georgia and North Carolina borders [asking] that you not stop, not stay in hotels and don’t buy gas. Or better still, that you just turn around.” NAACP personnel, according to Rivers, will position themselves at major entry points to the state “with protection” to remind people of the boycott.
The NAACP has maintained a tourism boycott of South Carolina since 1999 to pressure the state of South Carolina to remove the Confederate Battle Flag from the State House grounds. The flag was removed from atop the State House dome in 2000, and the flag currently flies from a pole on the building’s grounds.
“Intimidation is intimidation,” said Council Nedd, a member of Project 21’s National Advisory Council. “It doesn’t matter if you are trying to keep black people from the polls on election day or if you’re trying to stop families from visiting relatives who happen to live in South Carolina.”
Ashby Ward of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, commenting on the inappropriateness of engaging in economic sanctions at this time, told The State: “It seems ridiculous in this kind of economy, with the nation focused on this war on terrorism. To drag something from the past out like this is beyond my comprehension.”
Council Nedd of Project 21 added: “Just like in apartheid-era South Africa, sanctions against South Carolina are only hurting those who can least afford to have it happen. Decrease the tax base in a state by $9 billion, and the city of Charleston is not going to feel the impact like the small town of Maysville will.”
Project 21 has been a leading voice of the African-American community since 1992. For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 507-6398 x106 or [email protected], or visit Project 21’s website at http://www.project21.org/P21Index.html.