City Of Myrtle Beach Must Treat All Tourists Equally

City and businesses should not discriminate during Black Bike Week

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) today called on the City of Myrtle Beach to stop discriminating against African American tourists. Specifically, the NAACP said the City must treat Black Bike Week visitors the same as Harley Week visitors and other summer tourists.

The Rev. Nelson B. Rivers, III, NAACP Chief Operating Officer, said: "There is no justification for the City and certain Myrtle Beach business establishments to treat black tourists any differently than they treat white tourists. We are asking business establishments to remain open during Black Bike Week and to treat all customers, regardless of color or ethnicity, with dignity and respect. The City's decision to implement drastic changes in traffic patterns along Ocean Boulevard for Black Bike Week when the City is crowded and congested is just plain racism."

NAACP Interim General Counsel Angela Ciccolo said: "Despite the recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the NAACP will remain vigilant in our demand for equal treatment. Our attorneys continue to explore all options and we expect additional developments in our legal cases over the next several weeks."

On May 9, 2005, the U.S. District Court in South Carolina agreed with the NAACP that the City of Myrtle Beach must stop discriminating against African American motorcyclists. The Court granted the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction and ordered the City to maintain a substantially similar traffic pattern during both "Black Bike Week" and "Harley Week." The city is free to implement one-way, two-way or another traffic pattern, "but only if implemented for both events," the Court said.

The City decided to make everyone suffer by selecting the most restrictive option allowed by the order, continuing a one-way traffic plan for Black Bike Week and extending that unfair plan to the Harley Weekend. The NAACP does not want to place any unjust burdens on anyone, but seeks fundamental fairness for all.

The NAACP has done a great deal of work to help ensure equal treatment for visitors to Myrtle Beach Black Bike Week. The NAACP settled one of the restaurant discrimination cases and continues litigating others.

Memorial Day weekend is the only weekend each year when a majority of the tourists along Ocean Boulevard in the City of Myrtle Beach are black and it is the only weekend each year when the City shuts down the Boulevard to two-way traffic. This is just plain wrong and needs to be corrected. In addition, several restaurants and gas stations close during Black Bike Week. However, these same business establishments remain open during Harley Week.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its half-million adult and youth members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

CONTACT: NAACP Office of Communications 410.580.5125

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