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.
Walmart has decided to remove Confederate flag merchandise from stores and its e-commerce site in the wake of Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church shooting last week that renewed outcry over the symbol.
Brian Nick, a spokesman for the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer, said in a statement: “We never want to offend anyone with the products that we offer.
“We have taken steps to remove all items promoting the Confederate flag from our assortment – whether in our stores or on our website.”
On June 22, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley called for removing the Confederate battle flag from the State House grounds. Following the shooting, which killed nine parishioners at a historic black church in the state, the symbol needs to go, she said.
Governor Nikki Haley said at a press conference: “That flag, while an integral part of our past, does not represent the future.
“By removing a symbol that divides us, we can move forward as a state in harmony.”
Walmart has sold a range of Confederate-themed products, including decals, knives and T-shirts. The move to eliminate the merchandise was previously reported by CNN.
The company’s Brian Nick said in the statement: “We have a process in place to help lead us to the right decisions when it comes to the merchandise we sell.
“Still, at times, items make their way into our assortment improperly – this is one of those instances.”
The Confederate flag seen today on houses, bumper stickers and T-shirts – sometimes accompanied by the words “If this shirt offends you, you need a history lesson” – is not, and never was, the official national flag of the Confederacy.
The design by William Porcher Miles, who chaired the flag committee, was rejected as the national flag in 1861, overlooked in favor of the Stars and Bars.
The Confederate was instead adopted as a square battle flag by the Army of Northern Virginia under General Lee, the greatest military force of the Confederacy.
It fast became a potent symbol of Confederate nationalism.
The saltire – or diagonal cross – on the battle flag is believed to have been inspired by its heraldic connections, not any Scottish ones.
Since the end of the American Civil War, private and official use of the Confederacy’s flags, and of flags with derivative designs, has continued under philosophical, political, cultural, and racial controversy in the US. These include flags displayed in states, cities/towns/counties, schools/colleges/universities, private organizations/associations, and by individuals.
President Barack Obama has used the “n-word” during an interview to argue that the US has yet to overcome its issues with racism.
“Racism, we are not cured of it,” the president said.
“And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say n***er in public.”
The radio interview came days after a mass shooting in South Carolina which police believe was racially motivated.
Barack Obama will deliver a eulogy at the funeral of one of the men killed.
Clementa Pinckney, a personal friend of the president, was state senator and pastor of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston where the attack took place.
In the interview, Barack Obama also lamented Congress’ lack of will to enact stricter gun controls.
“It’s not just a matter of overt discrimination,” he told comedian Marc Maron in a podcast.
“Societies don’t, overnight, completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior.”
Barack Obama acknowledged that attitudes about race in the US have improved since his childhood, but he said that America’s history of enslaving black people “casts a long shadow and that’s still part of our DNA that’s passed on”.
The president has publicly used the n-word before but not as president. He used the word several times in his book Dreams from my Father.
Nine black worshippers were killed by gunman Dylann Roof during a bible study group at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.
Dylann Roof has been pictured holding the Confederate flag, a symbol used by southern states in the civil war when they tried to break away to prevent the abolition of slavery.
The shooting has restarted a debate over a Confederate flag that flies on the grounds of the South Carolina state capitol.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and others have called for the flag to be removed, calling it a symbol of racism.
President Barack Obama did not reference the flag in the interview, but he said on June 19 that the flag belongs in a museum and should not be flown.