01 Jul 6 Southern Black Churches Burn Since Charleston Attack
In the two weeks following the shooting death of nine people at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC, it’s reported that seven Black churches have gone up in flames.
The church fires come on the heels of the domestic terrorist attack carried out on the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC by Dylann Roof June 17th. Roof has been charged with nine counts of homicide and possession of a firearm.
June 21 – Someone set fire to some hale bales and a church van just outside of the College hill Seventh Day Adventist in Knoxville, TN. The church sustained minor damage.
June 23 – The God’s Power Church of Christ in Macon, GA was set on fire. When firefighters arrived, the front doors were wired shut. The fire, which heavily damaged the church, was ruled an arson, but not a hate crime as authorities said there did not see anything that pointed them in that direction.
June 24 – Charlotte, NC’s Briar Creek Road Baptist Church was set ablaze. It took more than 75 firefighters over an hour to contain the fire. The church sustained excessive damage to its education building and smoke damage to the sanctuary and gymnasium. The damages are estimated to total more than $250,000. The fire is being investigated as arson.
June 26 – Glover Grove Baptist Church in Warrenville, SC burned down. In a statement, authorities said no cause for the fire had been determined, but local authorities turned the investigation over to SLED.
On the same day, the Greater Miracle Temple Apostolic Holiness Church in Tallahassee, FL also went up in flames. Authorities believe the fire was caused by electrical wire, but the incident is under investigation.
June 30 – Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church in Greeleyville, SC was burned down. Authorities said they haven’t “ruled anything in or out at this point”.
In 1995, the church’s original structure was burned down by two Klu Klux Klan members.
The burning of churches is nothing new. During slavery, Jim Crow, and since, white supremacists have targeted the Black church because of its importance as a hub of leadership, education, social and political development, and activism.
The recent cases are not being investigated as hate crimes, as motives remain unclear, but with America’s dark past, the all-to-familiarity associated with these crimes, and the closeness of the crimes to the Charleston shooting, it’s hard to consider anything other than hate has the motivation.
No church-goers were injured in the fires.
These cases are under investigation
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