Politics & Government

Local South Carolina Tea Party groups blast NAACP

Members of several local tea parties say a resolution passed this month by NAACP delegates condemning elements of racism within the nationwide grassroots movement is misguided and unfair.

The NAACP resolution calls upon "all people of goodwill to repudiate the racism of the tea parties, and to stand in opposition to its drive to push our country back to the pre-civil rights era," said Hilary Shelton, director of the NAACP's Washington bureau.

The resolution will not become official unless it is ratified by the group's board of directors in October. A spokesman for the NAACP in Washington said that until then, the group will not release the text of the document.

Mary Amonitti has attended several meetings and rallies organized by the Hilton Head TEA Party and has been a member of the NAACP for most of her adult life, founding a chapter in suburban Philadelphia in the 1990s, she said.

The tea party's values -- lower taxes, smaller government and personal responsibility -- cut across racial boundaries, she said. Those who accuse the tea party of racism are merely trying to discredit the movement without engaging the issues it represents.

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