This Day in History

June 17, 2015: Charleston Church Massacre

Time Periods: 2001 - Present
Themes: African American, Racism & Racial Identity

On June 17, 2015, nine African American churchgoers were gunned down inside Charleston’s historic Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in an act of white supremacist terrorism. The nine people murdered were:

  • Clementa C. Pinckney (41)
  • Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd (54)
  • Susie Jackson (87)
  • Ethel Lee Lance (70)
  • Depayne Middleton-Doctor (49)
  • Tywanza Sanders (26)
  • Daniel L. Simmons (74)
  • Sharonda Coleman-Singleton (45)
  • Myra Thompson (59)

We recommend two articles for this day by Rev. William J. Barber, II, “The True Charleston Killer Remains at Large: Racism, poverty and violence are the real killers in America” and the sermon Barber gave in January of 2016 at Riverside Church (with references to the massacre in San Bernadino). Barber talks about the moral compass needed to guide the U.S. forward on a path of justice in “The Misdiagnosis of Terrorism.”

Emanuel Nine. Artwork by Panhandle Slim. Click image for more info and see artist’s FB page.

This is one of countless massacres in U.S. history. Most of these massacres were designed to suppress voting rights, land ownership, economic advancement, education, freedom of the press, religion, LGBTQ rights, and/or labor rights of African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asians, and immigrants.