Amid opening-day commerce at the NAACP's annual conference Saturday in Philadelphia, the group's leaders lifted a 15-year ban on tourism and economic activity in South Carolina.

The decision by the board of directors, made in private at the Convention Center, came one day after that state removed the Confederate battle flag from the grounds of its Capitol, abruptly ending decades of tension surrounding the symbol. To some, the flag is a reminder of deep racial division; to others, a symbol of Southern pride and heritage.

Tourism represents one of South Carolina's top industries, generating $1.3 billion in tax revenues in 2013, the latest data available. Since the NAACP imposed its moratorium in 2000, the state experienced punishing event cancellations - including from the New York Knicks and tennis player Serena Williams.

Despite reversing its ban, in its resolution Saturday the organization said South Carolina's action - while a victory - does not erase other challenges that exist for the country and the group.

"The NAACP clearly recognizes that there are still battles to be fought in other states and jurisdictions where emblems of hate and oppression continue to be celebrated," according to the resolution.

Even so, earlier last week, NAACP President Cornell William Brooks said South Carolina's decision "ushers the state and our country into a new era - one of unity and inclusion at a time of such profound tragedy."

On the floor of the convention Saturday, where dozens of attendees shopped and mingled at the conference's Commerce & Industry Show - its grand opening - it was the moments of tragedy, not victory, that weighed heavily on some minds.

"I've never seen racism like it is today," said Patricia Tyler, 56, of Newark, Del., who came to the conference with a group of people in white T-shirts proclaiming a cause dear to their heart: lobbying for R&B singer Charlie Wilson to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

While shopping for jewelry, stuffing tote bags full of literature, and dancing to upbeat music that pumped throughout the hall, attendees reflected on the heavy issues of the day that make the NAACP's work still imperative.

"It's still a reality that we don't get the same opportunities," Vernita Sias-Hill, 52, a lawyer from Plainfield, N.J., said of African Americans. She and her husband, Joffrey Hill, also a lawyer, are not NAACP members but happened upon the conference while in the city over the weekend.

In its 106th year, the storied civil rights group still carries weight, the couple said.

"The name matters - we can still effectuate change," Sias-Hill said. "It stands for justice, for community."

The couple noted that their teenage daughter - who attends a private school near their North Jersey home - still finds herself battling against stereotypes.

"And many of the same issues that the NAACP fought for in the 1960s - they're still the same today," Hill said.

Leola Wilson, president of the Saginaw, Mich., chapter, said the organization was honor-bound to juggle multiple priorities.

"Voter's rights, education, the economic situation, racial issues - race and equality," Wilson said. "Employment."

But for others, the convention was a day to celebrate the group's pride. The Hot Springs, Ark., chapter of the NAACP helped form Elmer Beard, a retired English teacher and former city official there. (Up-and-comer Bill Clinton once visited him at his office, Beard said, and the elder statesman dished out a bit of advice: "I told him, 'Don't campaign at black folks' funerals.' ")

To say Beard, the secretary of the local chapter, is loyal to the organization is a vast understatement.

"Everybody in my family is a life member of the NAACP. You can't come in the door if you're not," Beard, 78, joked.

But the organization must move forward, remembering its full name, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Beard said. "We need to emphasize and give new life to the second A - advancement," he said.

Beard has been an NAACP member since the 1960s.

Octavia McLean is just 18, visiting Philadelphia to cheer on friends competing in the organization's Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics. Winners will be decided Sunday.

A student in Laurinburg, N.C., McLean came also to talk about the things that matter most to her: Police brutality. Cuts to school districts.

"My generation isn't aware enough," McLean said. "But here I am, fighting the good fight."