Emanuel A. M. E. Church Shootings

Victoria Hansen

Many remember where they were when they heard the news: nine people gunned down inside an historic African American church in Charleston at the hands of a stranger they welcomed to bible study. But few know the passage they read.

Reporter Jennifer Berry Hawes does.

"It's called the 'Parable of the Sower,'" she says. "It's a story where Jesus talks about what happens when you throw seeds of faith onto different types of terrain."

Hawes writes about the tragedy in her first book, "Grace Will Lead Us Home: The Charleston Massacre and the Hard, Inspiring Journey to Forgiveness.."

Jennifer Berry Hawes/St. Martin's Publishing Group

On this episode of South Carolina Lede, host Gavin Jackson speaks with Pulitzer Prize-winning Post and Courier reporter Jennifer Berry Hawes about her book, "Grace Will Lead Us Home: The Charleston Massacre and the Hard, Inspiring Journey to Forgiveness." Hawes chronicles the tragic shooting of nine parishioners at the Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston and its aftermath through pointed, detailed accounts of the victims and their familes.

Dylann Roof, on federal death row for gunning down nine people two years ago at a historically black church in Charleston, S.C., wants his legal team dismissed because of the lawyers' ethnicity as he seeks to have his conviction and death sentence overturned.

"My two currently appointed attorneys, Alexandra Yates and Sapna Mirchandani, are Jewish and Indian respectively," Roof wrote in a letter filed Monday with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. "It is therefore quite literally impossible that they and I could have the same interests relating to my case."

Confederate flag supporters walk through a group of protestors in front the South Carolina Statehouse.
Laura Hunsberger/SC Public Radio

On July 10, 2015, officials removed the Confederate flag that flew on the statehouse grounds. Today, the South Carolina Secessionist Party assembled in front of the capitol building to raise the flag again for a day, with a crowd of about 50 supporters. Nearby, a dozen or so protestors held a counter rally. South Carolina Public Radio's Laura Hunsberger has more on the story.

Charleston Forum Commemorates the Emanuel 9

Jun 20, 2017
A panel discussion at the Charleston Forum on Race on Friday, June 16, 2017.
Tara Spurling Photography

On the night before the second Anniversary of the June 15, 2015 mass shooting that took the lives of nine worshippers at Emanuel AME church in Charleston, Reverend Eric Manning led the opening prayer at the Charleston Forum on Race. The forum is part of a series of events this month to commemorate the Emanuel 9 and to honor those who survived. In addition to remembering those who died, panel members discussed issues brought to greater attention because of the tragedy. South Carolina Public Radio's Laura Hunsberger has more on the story.

Mug shot of Roof taken by the Charleston County Sheriff's Office, June 18, 2015
WP:NFCC#4

22-year old Dylann Roof will plead guilty to state murder charges during an April 10th hearing. This comes several months after a federal court sentenced the self-proclaimed white supremacist to death. A guilty plea means Roof has agreed to a mandatory life sentence without parole. The sentence would only take effect if the federal sentence fell through which is highly unlikely. 

Roof was convicted in January on thirty-three federal charges including hate crimes and the use of a gun to commit a violent crime.  

State Troopers removing the Confederate battle flag from display on the grounds of the South Carolina State House, July 10, 2015.
SCETV

  One year ago, on July 10, 2015 the confederate flag was lowered from its place of honor in front of the Statehouse in Columbia signaling the end of a contentious period of state history. Over fifty years of contention to be exact.

Sen. Clemente Pinckey
SC Senate

  On June 17, 2015 the state and the nation were shocked by the horrific shootings at Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church.  Nine people attending bible study at the church, including the church’s pastor State Sen. Clemente Pinckney of Jasper County were killed.  The death of Pinckney, a popular and respected member of the Senate, rocked the Statehouse, and set-off a chain of events that culminated three weeks later with the removal of the confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds.

Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church is the oldest AME church in the south. It is often referred to as "Mother Emanuel".
Spencer Means/Flickr

  The slayings of nine worshipers at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston a year ago was a wrenching experience for South Carolina and the nation.  To try to find some understanding of the tragedy and its aftermath, three Charleston writers came together to produce a book to document their thoughts and observations.

Alexandra Olgin

In the year since the attack at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church that left nine black parishioners dead, Charlestonians have been reflecting on race relations. The Charleston Police Department is nearing the end of a yearlong project to re-evaluate its relationship with residents across the city’s diverse communities.

At circular tables in a Charleston Greek Orthodox Church, several groups of police officers and citizens are talking about problems they've had getting along over the years. Facilitators like Charlotte Anderson manage the discussions.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and former Charleston Mayor Joe Riley on SCETV's program "Palmetto Focus."
SCETV

  The murders at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C. last June thrust two of the state’s top public officials into the forefront.  Republican Gov. Nikki Haley, and then Mayor of Charleston Joe Riley, a Democrat.  Both leaders received praise for their roles in the aftermath.

The two were co-recipients of this year’s leadership awards from Furman University’s Riley Institute.

Participants in "Black Lives Matter" march in Charleston, SC, June 20, 2015.
Jeanette Guinn

  In the days after the Emmanuel AME Church murders of 2015, Joy Vandervort Cobb, gave a memorable interview about the community’s response to the tragedy. She returns on the one-year anniversary to tell us what has changed, and what has not.

Cobb is an actress, professor, and activist who will be performing in Citizen: An American Lyric at the PURE Theatre.

Alexandra Olgin

    

  At a small Baptist congregation a half hour north of Charleston, Melvin Graham Jr. is praying.

A laminated bookmark with a picture of his sister Cynthia Graham Hurd marks his bible. She was murdered on June 17, 2015 in the basement of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church along with eight others. Graham said he and his siblings plan to remember their sister through her passion.

“We came up with the idea of giving away books in June, in honor of her, because June is her birthday,” said Graham. 

Hearts Mend Hearts

Jun 13, 2016
A mandala drawn by a participant in the Hearts Mend Hearts art therapy workshops that took place at the Charleston County Library.
heartsmendhearts.com

  Dianne Tennyson-Vincent, along with Laura De La Maza, began the art therapy organization called Hearts Mend Hearts.  Both women have a background in therapy, art and teaching.  The organization began after the killings last June at Mother Emmanuel AME Church  of nine parishioners. 

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