NNPA Pulls Convention from South Carolina

Special to The Informer | 9/16/2009, 2:13 p.m.

Decision Renews 1999 Boycott over Confederate Flag
Special to the Informer

The National Newspaper Publishers Association, the Black Press of America, has announced that it will not hold its mid-winter conference in South Carolina scheduled for January 2010.

The organization, which consists of more than 200 Black-owned newspapers, has joined the NAACP economic boycott of the state. The boycott has been in effect since July 1999 when the South Carolina NAACP decided to call attention to the Confederate flag -- a symbol of racial hatred €" that flies atop the State House and inside both the House and Senate chambers.

The boycott requests that groups and individuals avoid traveling to the state for business or pleasure. Residents are asked not to visit South Carolina beaches or patronize restaurants and motels.
The announcement comes on the heels of South Carolina Republican Rep. Joe Wilson's outburst "You lie!" during President Barack Obama's address to the Joint Houses of Congress on health care reform on Wed., Sept. 9.

Wilson's outburst was considered inappropriate by both Democrats and Republicans who refused to defend him.

"As African American newspaper publishers, we stand in solidarity with the NAACP and fully support the economic boycott of South Carolina," said NNPA Chair Danny J. Bakewell Sr.

"Representative Wilson's remarks were racist, disrespectful, and a disingenuous violation--not only of President Obama - but to the institution of the presidency and only solidified our position and the importance in not spending Black dollars where Black people are not respected. The continued public and blatant disrespect of President Barack Obama by members of Congress will not be rewarded with our dollars nor will a state that continues to uphold America's shameful past by flying the Confederate flag," he said.

The NNPA is currently considering North Carolina in lieu of its decision to boycott South Carolina. The group joins a host of other organizations and businesses that refuse to hold conventions or meetings in South Carolina.

Bakewell, elected NNPA chairman in June, is executive publisher of the Los Angeles Sentinel Newspaper, the largest Black newspaper west of the Mississippi, and owner of WBOK radio station in New Orleans, La.