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NAACP Ends Boycott of South Carolina Following Flag Removal

The Confederate battle flag is permanently removed from the South Carolina statehouse grounds during a ceremony in Columbia, July, 10, 2015.

One of the United States' largest civil rights organizations has ended its boycott of the state of South Carolina.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) announced the decision Saturday, just days after a bill was passed removing the controversial Civil War era Confederate battle flag from the state capitol grounds.

The boycott had been in place since 2000.

In a statement, the NAACP said that "while the removal of the confederate flag is not going to solve most of the severe tangible challenges facing [the] nation . . . it does symbolize an end to the reverence of and adherence to values that support racially based chattel slavery and the hatred which has divided our country for too long."

The Confederate flag was removed permanently from the capitol grounds on Friday following legislation passed by the state's Senate, House of Representative and Governor Nikki Haley.

The bill followed an intense statewide campaign which began after a white gunman shot and killed nine black church members at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in the city of Charleston June 17.

Meanwhile, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has also lifted its ban on holding championships and tournaments in South Carolina. The NCAA has boycotted the state since 2001 over the controversy surrounding the flag.

That flag represented a handful of southern U.S. states that seceded from the nation in the 1860s in a failed push to keep slavery legal.

Flag opponents call it a symbol of white supremacy and slavery. Flag supporters say it is a sign of history and pride in their family heritage. Many of them abhor the racists who they say have hijacked the flag.