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Remembering Charleston Church Shooting Victims

Getty / Anadolu Agency / Cem Ozdel

Gunshots shattered the peace of a prayer meeting June 17, 2015

On June 17, 2015, gunshots shattered the peace of a prayer meeting when a shooter opened fire in a historic black church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina.

Nine people were killed, including the church's pastor, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who was also a state senator.

This isn’t the first time a hate crime has jolted Charleston's Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. For more than 200 years, the church has played an important role in the history of South Carolina. In 1822 church founder Denmark Vesey was suspected of planning a slave rebellion; Vesey and 34 others were killed and the church was burned to the ground. After the city closed all black churches in 1834, church congregants met in secret until the end of the Civil War.

Read more about the victims and share messages of comfort and condolence for the Emanuel church families and the Charleston community. 

Rev. Clementa Pickney President and Mrs. Obama knew Rev. Clementa Pinckney, the church’s pastor who is among the dead... Pinckney took the helm of Mother Emanuel in 2010. That year, he told a Post and Courier reporter, “Loving God is never separate from loving our brothers and sisters. It’s always the same.” Read more

Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church is the oldest AME church in the South and is affectionately called “Mother Emanuel.” Its white Gothic Revival building on Calhoun Street is the spiritual home to one of the oldest and largest black congregations south of Baltimore and is deeply rooted in the nation’s historic fights for civil rights. Its story, so interwoven with the Holy City’s broader history, begins about 1816 when Morris Brown, a free shoemaker and devout Methodist, walked out of a predominantly white and racially segregated Methodist Church in Charleston, an AME Church website states. Read more

Voices of Support After the Charleston Shooting Tragedies are by nature difficult to comprehend. Perhaps that’s why people feel such a need to reach out to one another in their aftermath, offering comfort and working toward some semblance of understanding. Although atrocities such as the June 17 massacre of nine people in a historic Charleston, South Carolina, church shake us to our core, it gives us hope to see people coming together online, offering support and sympathy. Read more

12 Crucial Messages To Remember In Light Of The Charleston Church Shooting As the nation grapples with the horrific shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, The King Center — a community institution inspired by and honoring Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy — published a series of meaningful tweets ... Read more

Twitter users demand justice The church is usually a retreat for solace, prayer, and reflection, but on Wednesday night, in Charleston, South Carolina, a cold-hearted killer made it a place to unleash his fury... It didn't take long for the FBI to identify the incident as a hate crime, with Twitter users standing firmly behind it. Read more

Charleston One Year Later: Acts of Amazing Grace In the days that followed the shooting, the world was astounded by the kindness, love, and resilience shown by the family and friends of those nine people. Read more


Update: In 2016 white supremacist Dylann Roof, who was 21 at the time of the shootings, was convicted of murder and committing 33 federal hate crime charges. He has been sentenced to death.

Originally published June 2015