“This has been a very difficult time for our state,” Haley said. “We have stared evil in the eye. … Our state is grieving, but we are also coming together.”
“Today, we are here to say it is time to move the flag from the Capitol grounds,” said Haley, surrounded by top leaders including U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, both Republicans like the governor. The other politicians broke out in cheers during the announcement.
The decision follows days of protests inside the state and growing pressure on Republican leaders to back away from the flag. Roof, 21, is being held on nine murder charges in connection with the shooting last Wednesday. Pictures of Roof have surfaced showing the high school dropout with the flag.
Though she sharply condemned the alleged shooter, Haley noted that the flag represents many positive things for people in her state. “The hate-filled murderer has a sick and twisted view of the flag,” she said, adding, “we have changed through the times and we will continue to do so, but that doesn’t mean we forget our history.”
In calling for the removal of the Confederate flag from state grounds, Haley said: “My hope is that moving a symbol that divides we can move forward and honor the nine blessed souls who are in heaven.”
Religious and political leaders including Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. said earlier Monday that they would push for the flag’s removal when the Legislature returns. Riley has led protest marches against the flag and has called for its removal from state grounds before.
“The time has come for the Confederate battle flag to move from a public position in front of the state Capitol to a place of history,” Riley said at a televised news conference. The flag “was appropriated years and years ago as a symbol of hate,” Riley said, and should be moved to a museum.
The Rev. Nelson B. Rivers III of the National Action Network said the flag should be removed before the body of state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, who was killed in the attack, lies in state on Wednesday. Pinckney was also pastor of Emanuel AME.
Republicans, who control South Carolina’s state Legislature, have rebuffed many previous calls to remove the flag, which dates from the Civil War. For civil rights activists and many others, the flag is a racist symbol of the state’s slave past. The flag has also been adopted by some white supremacist groups in modern times.
Just four short days after a gunman opened fire in Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, the historic house of worship has reopened its doors for Sunday service.
With church members, visitors and members of the Charleston community in attendance, the congregation showed its strength this morning, as it has many times before, while mourning the loss of nine members and honoring them through praise, worship and unity.
South Carolina’s governor and Charleston’s mayor sat in the front row. Rev. Norvel Goff started the service off saying, “This is our house of worship. The doors of the church are open, praise be to God.”
While reflecting on the pain inflicted on the congregation by the violent and senseless act of Dylann Storm Roof, Rev. Goff went through the bevy of emotions that everyone has been feeling, including anger, and asked how people should respond to moments like this. “Do we respond by being afraid? Or do we respond in faith?”
But despite increased security and additional visitors, Mother Emanuel’s Sunday service was a fairly normal one full of love, support and compassion for the church community as they prepare to rebuild once again.
On Thursday (June 18), the gunman was apprehended and is currently jailed and being held on $1 million bond.
First and foremost, all of us at Good Black News are heartbroken over the loss of the nine precious lives taken this week by senseless, hateful murder at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and our sympathies and prayers go out to the families and loved ones most acutely affected by this domestic terrorism. Even though you may already know the names of the unintended martyrs, they bear repeating, and often, so we never forget: Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Tywanza Sanders, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Daniel L. Simmons, Ethel Lee Lance, Myra Thompson, and Rev. Depayne Middleton-Doctor.
We call them martyrs because they are now part of the unfortunately long lineage of named and unnamed African-Americans subjected to racially-motivated violence in the United States. From enslaved persons who died on slave ships in the Middle Passage, to persons enslaved in the colonies, to Reconstruction, to the Jim Crow era, to the Civil Rights movement and up through today, the pattern is plain: you are black, you are hated, your life doesn’t matter, you die violently.
I have spent a lot of time this past week reading and watching coverage of this national tragedy, not only to gather as much information as possible, but also to process and attempt to think of the right words to share on how to move forward in a positive manner, as that is overriding philosophy and mission of Good Black News. I do think it is crucial first, however, to talk about WHERE this happened, HOW it happened and WHY it happened.
As everyone knows by now, South Carolina so proudly claims its antebellum history that the Confederate flag still flies on its State Capitol building. The battle at Fort Sumpter in 1861, right outside of Charleston, which occurred not long after South Carolina seceded from the Union, set off the Civil War. Tourist shops in Charleston casually sell merchandise such as mammy magnets and confederate bumper stickers, which are symbols of racial oppression to my eyes, but symbols of “the good ol’ days” to others.
The other “where” in this situation is specifically the Emanuel AME Church. The history of this church is steeped in the fight for African-Americans to create their own place of worship and the freedom to express their humanity. One of the church founders, Denmark Vesey, attempted in 1822 to organize a slave rebellion from this space, which, although thwarted, created mass hysteria among the slave owners in the Carolinas and lead to the church being burned. It has been rebuilt several times and stands as a consistent symbol of black pride, resistance and fortitude. So the choice of this place for this action makes it clear this was a targeted, racially-motivated attack.
On Wednesday night, in the spirit of fellowship, church members welcomed Dylann Roof, the unfamiliar stranger who would become their assassin, to join and participate in their bible study. He took advantage of their compassion and open hearts to forward a racist agenda that is centuries-old and still pervasive in the DNA of this country, and particularly so in South Carolina and the South. In the 1960s, people didn’t call the killers of Emmett Till, Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King, Jr., or the four African-American girls in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama “mentally insane.” They called them what they were – Klan members and/or racists. So regardless of whether or not Roof has mental problems, his racism and desire for racial supremacy is the primary motivation behind his actions.
So, clearly knowing all of that, what are some positive, actionable ways we can move forward as a nation, in our communities and in our personal lives from this horrific event?
Petition/protest/vote for removals of all symbols of oppression and hate from government buildings, streets, tourist centers and shops.
Contribute to the donation fund set up for the families of the victims of the Emanuel AME shootings.
Support/join organizations such as the NAACP, ACLU or the National Urban League, that are dedicated to protesting racial injustice and empowering minorities.
Educate all children of all colors and creeds about the racial history of the United States from slavery to the present and call it what it is. Visit civil rights museums. Read, know and learn the history. Just as Jewish peoples around the world make sure each generation “never forgets” the Holocaust – so should we never forget about American racial injustice.
Keep calling out and protesting current injustices – we need to keep filming and reporting and being sources for unjust police actions, racial disparities in the workplace and even in our personal conversations. Let’s not be Roof’s friend Joseph Meek Jr.,who now regrets not checking his friend more thoroughly about his racist vitriol.
Love. Find forgiveness in our hearts just as the family members of several of the victims are doing for the assailant. Meeting hate with hate solves nothing.
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Organizers say a $75 million International African American Museum will be built beside the Charleston harbor where tens of thousands of slaves first set foot in the United States.
Charleston Mayor Joe Riley announced Tuesday that the museum will be built near where a wharf once stood in the South Carolina city where the Civil War began. During the late 1770s and early 1800s, tens of thousands of slaves crossed the wharf entering the nation. Riley says there is no better site for the museum. The location is on the waterfront, just down and across the street from the original site planned for the museum.
The project was first announced 13 years ago. Riley says construction on the 42,000-square-foot museum could begin in early 2016 with completion in 2018.
Darius Rucker has hit the top of the charts both the leader of Hootie and the Blowfish and as a solo country artist. And now, a street in his hometown bears his name. The pavement leading to the North Charleston Coliseum in South Carolina where Hootie and the Blowfish played in the 1990s shortly after it opened was renamed Darius Rucker Boulevard on Monday, reports the Associated Press.
Rucker grew up in the Charleston area and was on hand for the ceremony along with North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey. Rucker says he may return to the coliseum this fall to play a country set. But first he plays with Hootie and the Blowfish next week at the Family Circle Stadium on Daniel Island.
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Venus Williams outlasted fellow American Ververa Lapchenko in three sets Friday to start a long day of tennis for the Williams’ family at the rain-delayed Family Circle Cup.
Venus was up a set and held a 3-0 lead in the second set before Lapchenko won six of the next seven games to force a third set. Lapchenko led 1-0 before Williams found her game and closed out the set, 6-2. Williams will face 18-year-old Madison Keys later Friday for a spot in the semifinals Saturday.
Top-ranked Serena Williams also must play twice Friday after a 7 1-2 hour rain delay wiped out much of Thursday’s schedule. Serena will play Mallory Burdette. If she wins, she’ll play either sixth-seeded Lucie Safarova or Sorana Cirstea.