The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has voted to end its 15-year economic boycott of South Carolina a day after the Confederate flag was removed from the grounds of the state house.
The civil rights group had boycotted tourism and other services in protest at the flying of the Confederate flag.
The controversial flag was removed after a debate sparked by the shooting of nine black people.
The suspected gunman, Dylann Roof, had been pictured holding the Confederate banner.
The flag was the battle emblem of the southern states during the American Civil War but is now seen by many as a symbol of slavery and racism.
Members of the NAACP agreed the move at their annual convention in Philadelphia.
“Emergency resolution passed by the NAACP National Board of Directors at #NAACP106, ending the 15 year South Carolina boycott,” the group said on its Twitter feed.
The Confederate flag was originally placed on top of the South Carolina state house in Columbia in 1961 as part of Civil War centennial commemorations.
However, critics said it was more of a sign of opposition to the black civil rights movement at the time.
The NAACP announced its boycott in 2000 and maintained it even though the Confederate flag was later taken down from the capitol’s dome and placed by a civil war monument in the grounds.
The future of the flag was thrust back into the limelight after nine black people were shot dead in a church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17 this year.
After a long and fractious debate, a bill calling for the flag to be taken down was signed on July 9 by Republican Governor Nikki Haley.
Relatives of some of the victims attended July 10 ceremony to remove the flag from outside the state house.
Hundreds of people turned out to watch the event, some chanting “take it down” while they waited for the ceremony to begin.
The Confederate flag’s supporters argue that it is an important part of southern heritage.
South Carolina church shooting suspect Dylann Roof is due to make his first court appearance.
Dylann Storm Roof, 21, is suspected of shooting dead nine people at the Emanuel AME Churche in Charleston.
He was detained more than 200 miles away in North Carolina and flown back to Charleston.
Police are treating the killings as a hate crime.
Prayer vigils have been held in churches in Charleston and across the US for the six women and three men who died in the June 17 shooting.
Churches in Charleston were full to overflowing on June 18 as prayer services were held. Some services were held outdoors.
Hundreds gathered outside the Emanuel AME Church, where the attack took place, to pay tribute.
Dylann Roof is due to appear in court via video link for a bail hearing on June 19. He is being held at a detention centre in the Charleston area, the county sheriff’s office said.
He was detained on June 18 after police acting on a tip-off stopped his car in Shelby, North Carolina. He waived his right to extradition and was flown back to South Carolina.
Police had earlier released CCTV images of the shooting suspect and the dark saloon car he had driven away in.
Dylann Roof’s social media profile suggests he was interested in white supremacy.
His Facebook page shows a picture of him wearing a jacket with flag-patches from apartheid-era South Africa and Rhodesia – the name of Zimbabwe during the era of white minority rule. He also had Confederate flag plate on his car.
Dalton Tyler, who said he was a friend of Dylann Roof, told ABC News the suspect had spoken in support of racial segregation and had said “he wanted to start a civil war”.
It emerged on Thursday that Dylann Roof had sat in a Bible study group at the church for nearly an hour before launching his attack.
“The suspect entered the group and was accepted by them, as they believed that he wanted to join them in this Bible study,” Charleston County Coroner Rae Wilson said.
She said he then became “very aggressive and violent”.
Eight people died at the scene and one person died later in hospital. There were three survivors.
The victims were named as Pastor Clementa Pinckney, 41; Cynthia Hurd, 54; Tywanza Sanders, 26; Ms Singleton, 45; Myra Thompson, 59; Ethel Lance, 70; Susie Jackson, 87; the Rev Daniel Simmons Sr, 74; and DePayne Doctor.
President Barack Obama said the killings again raised the issue of US gun ownership, saying: “At some point, we as a country have to reckon with the fact that this type of massacre does not happen in other advanced countries.”
The Emanuel church is the oldest African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church in the US south. Civil rights leader Martin Luther King gave a speech there in April 1962.
Mourners has gathered in Summerville, South Carolina for the funeral of black driver Walter Scott.
Walter Scott was fatally shot by North Charleston police officer Michael Slager after fleeing a traffic stop.
A hearse being escorted by two police on motorcycles drove up as the growing crowd looked on April 11. Mourners waited outside through humidity and a period of light rain while flowers were unloaded and brought inside the sanctuary.
Police initially said Walter Scott was shot on April 4 during a tussle over Michael Slager’s department-issued Taser.
However, a witness video surfaced later, showing Walter Scott being shot eight times as he ran away. Officer Michael Slager was fired and charged with murder.
The incident sparked outrage as another instance of a white law enforcement officer fatally shooting an unarmed black man under questionable circumstances.
South Carolina police officer Michael Slager has been charged with murder after video emerged of him shooting a black man running away from him.
State investigators arrested North Charleston Officer Michael Slager on April 7 after viewing the mobile phone video of the shooting.
According to authorities, victim Walter Lamer Scott was shot after the white officer had already targeted him with a stun gun.
The US Department of Justice is set to launch an investigation.
“When you’re wrong, you’re wrong,” North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey said, announcing the arrest.
“When you make a bad decision, I don’t care if you’re behind the shield or a citizen on the street, you have to live with that decision.”
Photo North Charleston Police
Police officers in the US fatally shoot and kill hundreds of people each year, but only a handful of cases result in the officer facing criminal charges.
The incident on April 4 began after Walter Lamer Scott’s car was stopped for having a broken rear light, local media reported.
A video of the incident published by the New York Times shows a brief scuffle before Walter Lamer Scott begins running away. The video then shows Officer Michael Slager firing several shots at Walter Lamer Scott, who falls to the ground.
The Postand Courier newspaper of Charleston reported that Walter Lamer Scott had been arrested about 10 times, mostly for failing to pay child support or show up for court hearings.
His brother, Anthony Scott, told the Post and Courier that he believed his brother fled from Michael Slager because he owed child support.
Anthony Scott said that because of the video, “we have received the truth” and “through the process, justice has been served”.
Chris Stewart, a lawyer for Walter Lamer Scott’s family, called the passer-by who recorded the video a “hero”.
The shooting occurred as heightened scrutiny is being placed on police officer shootings, particularly those that involve white officers and unarmed black suspects.
A grand jury declined to indict Ferguson, Missouri officer Darren Wilson over the fatal shooting of Michael Brown last August, leading to nationwide protests.
South Carolina Judge Carmen T. Mullen has overturned the conviction of 14-year-old George Stinney Jr. executed for murder in the 1940’s.
George Stinney’s prosecution for the killing of two white girls in South Carolina was a great injustice, the judge said.
The boy was arrested, convicted and executed in 1944 in the space of three months, and with no appeal.
Supporters said his trial was tainted by racism and lack of evidence.
In her ruling, Judge Carmen T. Mullen said that the prosecution at the time had failed to safeguard George Stinney’s constitutional rights.
The boy was arrested after two girls, aged 7 and 11, were found beaten to death a day after they reportedly spoke to him and his sister.
After a search party found the girls, the teenager was reportedly taken from his parents and interrogated without a lawyer.
George Stinney remains the youngest person executed in the US in 100 years.
According to contemporary accounts, George Stinney’s size – he weighed 95lb and stood about 5ft 2in tall – meant he was too small for the straps of the electric chair, and an electrode was too big for his leg.
Reports say George Stinney had to sit on a phone book in the electric chair.
Most evidence in the state’s case, including George Stinney’s alleged confession, had been lost over time.
Prosecutors have said that the loss of evidence did not mean it was deliberately destroyed.
The case was brought to renewed public attention in large part by George Frierson, one of George Stinney’s most outspoken supporters.
“When I get home, I’m going to get on my knees and thank the Lord Almighty for being so good and making sure justice prevailed,” George Frierson said after hearing of the ruling.
During the 1940s South Carolina was a centre of the southern US states’ official segregationist racism, known as the Jim Crow system.
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