1.) The Church had historical importance
The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church existed for 200 years before the 2015 massacure in which 9 were killed during a bible study by a caucasian gunman. The oldest African Methodist Episcopal Chruch in Charlston, the chruch was once the command center for a slave revolt in the 1800’s. As a result of the uprising christans were forbidden from holding all black services, the Emanuel Church continued to thrive in spite of these new regulations. Violence against blacks is not a new fear for members of the church as southern black churches were a favorite target for white supremiststs to exact their revenge.
2.) Dylan Roof
Dylan Roof was a closeted white supremicist. Roof had black friends but dislayed his distain for the African American race behind the saftey of his keyboard. While he appeared realitively comfortable in interracial situations Roof posted photos online of himself defacing the American flag in favor of Confederate Flag. He posed with guns and wrote anti-black messages including a 2,000 word manifesto in which he outlines his reasons for believing in white superiority. Roof attended a bible study at historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church for an hour before he opened fire killing 9 church members. Roof left the remaining alive so that they could tell the story of the massacure. When asked why he commited the hate crime Roof said he wanted to incite a race war.
3.)A Quick Capture
Roof was arrested at a traffic stop in Shelby, North Carolina. But not after he was followed for sometime by a civilian who thought that Roof looked shady. The citizen reported the strange car to police and then followed it for 30 miles before police could make the arrest. Authorities say they do not know how long it would have taken to find Roof, who was 250 miles away at the time of the arrest, without the help of this concerned citizen. Roof has been charged with murder more charges are expected to follow.
4.) No hard feelings
Despite suffering 9 losses the church has openly forgiven Roof. The families of the victims claim they have forgiven the gunman and are praying for his salvation. Churches in Charleston, known for its vast amount churches, have agreed to ring their bells at 10 am before services to show solidarity with those in their community hurting.
5.) The Flag was still there
Racial tensions in Charleston have existed long before this current hate crime. These tensions are intensified by the governements outright ignorance to the opinions of it’s african-American community. The Charleston massacre has reignited debate over whether the Confederate flag should keep flying over the state capitol. The flag is considered part of southern culture for some but for others it repersents the racism of yester year. In recent years the african-american community has expressed concern over the flag but officials have only moved it across the street. NAACP President Cornell Brooks said “The flag has to come down. This was not merely a mass shooting, not merely a matter of gun violence. This was a racial hate crime, and must be confronted as such.”