Skip to comments.NAACP tried to sway Daimler away from building plant in S.C.
Posted on 10/23/2002 9:13:14 AM PDT by aomagrat
The NAACP urged DaimlerChrysler not to invest in South Carolina and said Tuesday it will do the same with other major industrial prospects, extending its campaign against the Confederate flag to a new economic front.
James Gallman, president of the South Carolina branch of the NAACP, said he asked the group's national office to write the German automaker urging it not to build a plant near Summerville because of the group's boycott of the state over the flag issue.
DaimlerChrysler acknowledged receiving the letter, but insisted it was not a factor in the decision to choose Savannah as the site of a $754 million, 3,300-employee cargo van plant.
"That is so ludicrous," said Othmar Stein, the company's chief spokesman for commercial vehicles in Stuttgart. "I don't believe that played any role whatsoever. This is a business decision."
Gallman said the letter marks an expansion of the boycott beyond tourism to industrial recruitment.
"Our request was they not come into South Carolina and subject their minority employees to the kind of blatant racism and poor race relations we have in South Carolina," Gallman said.
The NAACP's involvement was disclosed Friday by Georgia Gov. Roy E. Barnes. He said the civil rights organization made DaimlerChrysler aware of the flag controversy in South Carolina, as well as its resolution in Georgia.
But Morton Brilliant, a spokesman for Gov. Jim Hodges, said DaimlerChrysler officials never raised the flag issue.
S.C. Commerce Department officials called DaimlerChrysler after Barnes's comments, but were told the flag controversy had no bearing on the decision, said Jim Morris, commerce's chief of staff.
"Gov. Barnes is using that for political hay in his race in Georgia," Morris said. "To suggest we've done the right thing in Georgia, they are still screwing up in South Carolina, it's just not true."
Hodges and Barnes, both Democrats, are seeking re-election.
The Confederate battle flag flies on a pole in front of the State House following a compromise by the General Assembly that removed it from atop the Capitol dome in 2000.
Supporters say the flag honors South Carolina's Confederate veterans of the Civil War. The NAACP considers it a symbol of slavery fit only for display in a historical setting.
The group launched a tourism boycott of South Carolina in January 2000. The impact has been minimal, state tourism officials said.
Georgia legislators changed that state's flag in January 2001 at Barnes' urging, avoiding an economic boycott threatened by the NAACP. The new flag replaced the Confederate emblem - added in 1956 - with small depictions of the state's five previous flags, including the one with the Confederate emblem.
S.C. House Speaker David Wilkins, R-Greenville, said the NAACP's appeal was wrong even if it had no influence.
"They should be ashamed for taking credit for preventing good-paying jobs from coming to South Carolina," Wilkins said.
Gallman said the group will target every "major company" considering a move to South Carolina. The state chapter will contact the national office in Baltimore, which will then contact the company.
In the case of DaimlerChrysler, Gallman said, the letter was sent around August by the NAACP's national chairman, Julian Bond.
Gallman said he didn't have a copy of the letter. Bond did not immediately return calls.
Bond, a civil rights movement leader who worked with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960s, represented Atlanta in the Georgia legislature from 1966 to 1987 as a Democrat.
Wilkins, the House leader, and S.C. Senate Pro Tempore Glenn McConnell, R-Charleston, said neither body will take up the flag issue in the next session.
McConnell, who owns a Civil War memorabilia shop in Charleston, said he doubts the group would have any effect on DaimlerChrysler or another company, but even if they did, he would not change his position.
"I would never agree to move the soldiers' flag from the soldiers' monument for any plant," he said. "The flag isn't going anywhere else. They can continue to complain all they want to."
S.C. Sen. Darrell Jackson, D-Richland and a former supporter of the flag compromise, said the issue won't go away until the flag does.
"Leaders of South Carolina have to decide what's important to us: attracting companies or flying a Confederate flag at the Capitol," he said. "They're going to see more of this, instead of less."
Next step - Burning big X's in white people's yards.
What next? NAACP members will no longer buy Mercedes-Benz cars? Will the Benz join the SUV as an object of constant scorn in the press? Should blacks employed by the firm in Michigan and elsewhere "down tools", as they say in Europe, and refuse to labor for The Man unless new plants are only built in places they approve of?
NO. The leaders of SC have to decide what's important to them: attracting companies, tourists, and dollars that will help the citizens they are elected to serve or succumbing to the racial bombthrowers of the NAACP.
It's so comforting to know that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People hasn't lost its focus, but is instead bending its every effort to do those key strategic things that will really help to advance the status, economic condition and well-being of Americans of color.
That's incorrect - the would banish ALL AMERICAN (Confederate and Union) SYMBOLS, FLAGS, MONUMENTS, MEMORIALS if they had the power to.
Please help me with this, folks. I'm obviously missing something.
Daimler/Benz wants to build a factory in SC and the NAACP goes out of its way to discourage them. Doesn't the "P" in NAACP stand for "People"? You know, like the people who just might find a good paying job there? There must be one or two folks down there who are un/underemployed, no? I do seem to recall hearing once that auto factories sometimes hire the odd local. And if I recall correctly there are Black Americans in SC, aren't there? Do you think maybe the odd one might sort of consider applying for a job in the factory? And getting it? And having money from a decent sized unionized pay packet with which to have a good home, save money for the kids' educations, maybe retire someday without being a burden on the rest of society?
I guess I just don't get this Liberal "compassion" thing. Must be a crazed right-wing gun loving tabacco puffing (continue the usual slander as required) dinosaur. /sarcasm
Why the h*ll does anyone take these demagogues seriously any more?
Most economic indicators hold that the boycott (since 99 or 00) has been a failure. Trending data show no impact on the S.C. economy. I actually do MORE business with South Carolinians since the NAACP called for a boycott.
(No sarcasm this time)
The real shame is that I imagine many of these business owners, not to mention ordinary folks, have given up trying to point out the obvious harm inherent in the policies and priorities of the NAACP and for that manner other Lib groups like them.
I don't for a minute mean to suggest that they should be blamed for this. One only has to look at the treatment of Colin Powell and Condi Rice, not to mention any other Black American who has made a success of their life but not fallen into line like a good little sheep. Now, Powell and Rice are in a position where they don't care and can't really be hurt by it (and to be fair to both of them have probably always had teflon skin for this sort of thing), but for many businesses and working people they just don't need and can't afford the hassle (not to mention boycots, threats by more zealous idiots, etc) of pointing out the obvious. These "rights" groups, and the NAACP is not different than other Lib groups in this, can be down right intimidating and scary, not to mention tht they often have a core of very imposing goons to make sure no one gets out of line in public, etc.
I'm afraid we'll probably have to wait for a Black President for this to change. Someone like Condi who could and I bet would stare these screamers down and make it a badge of honor for a Black American to look these groups in the eye and declare "Who the h*ll are you to tell me how to live!"
For some perspective, the Navistar truck factory in my home town (Chatham, Ontario) just announced it was closing. Roughly 1000 people out of work for good was the last figure I saw. The bigger picture, though, is the fact that it is estimated (and the plant's been there for like 70 years so there's apparantly data to back this up) that for every one person Navistar employed three locals were employed to support or sell to the factory. So 1,000 jobs becomes 4,000. The plant closing will be like a body slam to the city (only 35,000 pop.).
For the life of me I just can't figure out how they (NAACP) can continue to get away with this cr*p, other than the intimidation and ridicule I mention above.
So I suppose if there had been a Swastika Flag flying, or a yellow Hammer and Sickle on a red flag then it would've been okay for Daimler Benz to set up shop eh? NAALCP needs to go the way of other tyrannical racist organizations ... into the ash heap of history.
Just cause Lee surrendered don't mean I did!
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