NAACP's S.C. rally targets Civil War myths, immigration and budget cuts

The State (Columbia, S.C.)December 30, 2010 

The South Carolina NAACP will use its annual January State House rally to oppose cuts to state health care and education programs as well as a proposed Arizona-style immigration bill.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Day rally also will renew the S.C. NAACP’s call to remove the Confederate flag from the State House grounds and for groups to boycott S.C. tourism until the flag is placed in a museum, S.C. chapter president Lonnie Randolph said Wednesday.

The civil rights group also plans to use the rally to counter myths about the origins of the Civil War, which began 150 years ago in South Carolina.

“We don’t celebrate atrocities of any kind,” Randolph said, referring to a recent gala to mark the 150th anniversary of South Carolina’s secession. “Things don’t heal that easily. … We take it seriously.”

The NAACP has rallied at the State House on King’s national holiday for a decade, hosting prayer services and marching through downtown Columbia.

The rally originally was organized to oppose the Confederate battle flag that flew atop the State House dome until 2001. The event continued after lawmakers moved the flag to a Confederate monument on the State House grounds – a compromise the S.C. NAACP opposed.

In addition to the flag, Randolph said this year’s event would encourage attendees to oppose other forms of injustice, such a state immigration law or cuts to the state-run Medicaid health care program for the low-income and disabled.

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