NAACP Begins 'Border Patrol' Protests in South Carolina

Urging state visitors "not to shop, not to stop until the flag drops," NAACP protesters patrolled South Carolina's borders this weekend, promoting an anti-Confederate flag boycott.

"We will continue until the Confederate swastika is removed from a position of sovereignty on state property," the Rev. Charles White Jr., director of the NAACP's southeast regional office, said Saturday at a state welcome center just south of Charlotte, N.C.

The NAACP launched a boycott of South Carolina two years ago over a confederate flag that had flown atop the Statehouse for 38 years. The Legislature agreed to bring the flag down, but in a compromise raised another at a Confederate monument a few yards away.

Though the compromise satisfied some groups, the NAACP says the Confederate flag now flying is still on state-owned property and must go.

That came through loud and clear for Rebecca Feind, of Harrisburg, Pa., who said she planned to follow the boycott and agreed with the flag complaint.

"It's offensive to many people ... and shouldn't fly on the Statehouse grounds," she said.

Attorney General Charlie Condon, a Republican candidate for governor, has threatened to sue over the boycott, saying the welcome-center protests are illegal because their aim is to harm someone else's business and because the centers are nonpublic forums for greeting visitors.

"In the minds of all reasonable people, the Confederate flag controversy was resolved," he said.

Gov. Jim Hodges has also said the controversy ended when the flag came down from the Capitol dome.

The NAACP says the protests are legally protected, and the state tourism department that runs the centers said it has no plans to take action against the protests.

Other groups had very different messages to spread. While about 20 members of the civil-rights organization flashed signs outside the welcome center, two members of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan greeted travelers inside. The Klansmen left after state authorities asked them not to distribute material inside the building.

Some who stopped also disagreed with the NAACP's message.

"It's a symbol of pride, of courage," Rickey Rutherford, of Fort Mill, said. "That's our heritage — white people's heritage."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.