NAACP to Monitor Myrtle Beach for Discriminatory Practices During Black Bike Week

MYRTLYE BEACH, S.C. — For the ninth year, the NAACP will conduct Operation Bike Week Justice to monitor discriminatory practices in Myrtle Beach during Black Bike Week, the annual Memorial Day weekend gathering of African American motorcycle enthusiasts. Throughout the weekend the NAACP South Carolina State Conference, local branch leadership, and NAACP member volunteers will be observing police activity and treatment of black tourists, monitoring the practices of local businesses, watching traffic patterns and fielding calls.

The City of Myrtle Beach plans to establish a 23-mile traffic loop with only four exits, substantially increase police presence, retain 190 private security officers and 14 supervisors and erect metal pedestrian barricades.

Moreover, the city passed an extraordinary events ordinance declaring Black Bike Week an extraordinary event.  As originally proposed, the ordinance would have made it unlawful for people to possess common items such as aerosol containers, backpacks, duffel bags, coolers, lumber and chains under certain circumstances.  As reported in the Sun News, the City Council removed those restrictions due to concerns about giving the “wrong impression.”

“The NAACP supports reasonable law enforcement tactics designed to promote public safety and peace,” said South Carolina State Conference NAACP President Dr. Lonnie Randolph.  “However, the Association will vehemently oppose any tactics that unfairly target African Americans.”

“The overwhelming majority of Black Bike attendees are law abiding citizens,” said Myrtle Beach Branch NAACP President Mickey James.  “They should be treated with the same courtesy and respect as all other tourists regardless of race.”

Within the past ten years, the NAACP and individual African American plaintiffs have successfully settled a number of discrimination lawsuits against the City of Myrtle Beach and area businesses for unequal treatment of Black Bike Week visitors compared to those who attend Harley Week, a predominantly white event, traditionally held one week earlier.

“The NAACP will not allow the legal gains made in Myrtle Beach to be replaced with the same discriminatory practices of the past,” said, NAACP Interim General Counsel, Marshall Taylor.

Again this year, a complaint hotline will be activated for individuals to report closed businesses, police misconduct or other unfair treatment.  Black Bike Week attendees can report incidents by calling (888) 362-8683 or by visiting Sandy Grove Baptist Church at 1008 Carver Street, Myrtle Beach, SC to file a complaint in person.