Black Press pulls convention from South Carolina

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LOS ANGELES – 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 of more than 200 Black-owned newspapers is joining the NAACP economic boycott of the state that has been in effect since July 1999 when the South Carolina NAACP called for it as a protest of the Confederate flag – a symbol of racial hatred – atop the State House and inside the House and Senate chambers. The boycott, still in effect, calls on groups and individuals to avoid traveling to the state for business or pleasure and discourages residents from visiting South Carolina beaches or patronizing restaurants and motels.

This announcement comes on the heels of South Carolina Republican Representative Joe Wilson’s outburst of "You lie!" that broke decorum during President Barack Obama’s address to the Joint Houses of Congress on health care reform on Sept. 9.

Wilson’s outburst was viewed as ghastly 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 Chairman Danny J. Bakewell Sr. "Rep. Wilson’s remarks were racist, disrespectful and a disingenuous violation- not only of President Obamabut 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."

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 Sr., elected NNPAchairman in June, is executive publisher of the Los Angeles Sentinel Newspaper, the largest and most read Black newspaper west of the Mississippi and owner of WBOK radio station in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Bakewell is CEO of The Bakewell Company, one of the largest African American-owned development companies in the United States. The company is responsible for the development of more than 1 million square feet of retail space in predominantly African American communities, including Compton and South Central Los Angeles. NNPA

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