By Doug Porter
The Confederate flag atop the State Capital in Charleston, South Carolina is still flying today. And the pinheads at Fox news are trying to spin this story as an attack on religion. But anybody with a whit of common sense knows what happened in this city was an act motivated by racist hate.
Nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the oldest AME church in the South. were gunned down last night by 21 year old Dylann Storm Roof.
Acccording to a report in the Daily Beast:
“Sylvia Johnson—a cousin of church pastor Clementa Pinckney, who was killed in the attack—says a survivor told her the gunman reloaded five times. “He just said ‘I have to do it,’” Johnson reports the survivor saying. “‘You rape our women and you’re taking over the country. You have to go.’”
Earlier, a local NAACP official said the killer told one woman, who has not been identified, that she was allowed to live so that she can tell everyone else what happened. Police confirmed that at least three people survived the attack, and that the gunman sat with the prayer group for at least an hour before he began to shoot.”
— zellie (@zellieimani) June 18, 2015
The suspected has reportedly been captured in Shelby, North Carolina…
The Flag of Racism Still Flies at Full-Mast
…Today, a Confederate flag is flying on the grounds of the South Carolina statehouse in Columbia — as it does every day. While the flags on top of the statehouse itself are flying at half-mast, the Confederate flag (displayed at a Civil War memorial) is flying at full mast.
This is more than just an awkward juxtaposition. As Cornell historian Edward Baptistexplains in a series of chilling tweets, the Confederate flag isn’t just a symbol of the pro-slavery rebellion, it’s also a symbol of post-Civil War white supremacy — including the KKK and other groups that expressed that supremacy violently, at times by attacking black churches…
…The flag is still a live controversy in South Carolina. In October 2014, Governor Nikki Haley defended it as unproblematic for the state’s business, saying, “I can honestly say I have not had one conversation with a single CEO about the Confederate flag.”
A Historic Church, Rebuilt Many Times
The congregation first formed in 1791, a coalition of free blacks and slaves as part of an integrated Charleston’s Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1816, 1400 members split off from their white counterparts in a dispute over burial grounds.
Denmark Vesey, a carpenter from the then-Danish Virgin Islands who brought himself out of slavery, was the architect of the original building. Vesey and 34 others were executed following reports they were involved in planning a slave rebellion.
The original church building was burned to the ground. Undeterred, the congregation rebuilt the church and met there until 1834 — when all-black churches were outlawed by the state legislature.
Parishioners met in secret until the end of the Civil War in 1865, when they formally reorganized, adopting the name ‘Emanuel,’ meaning “God with us.” The congregation had to rebuild again in 1886 following an earthquake. It has stood at its present site since 1872.
The Emanuel AME Church was a destination stop for many civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther King Jr. during the 1960s,
The late Reverend Clementa Pinckney–reportedly among the victims in the shooting– was the most recent leader of the congregation. He was a Democratic representative in the state senate who most recently pushed for body cameras on police in South Carolina.
More details, from The Nation
This church is now known as the scene of a mass murder, being investigated as a “hate crime.” Nine are dead but this institution will not fall. We know this because it has stood tall amidst the specter of racist violence for 300 years. Next year, in fact, was to be the 300th anniversary of the founding of the church. It was 1816 when Rev. Morris Brown formed “Mother Emanuel” under the umbrella of the Free African Society of the AME church. They were one of three area churches known as the Bethel Circuit. This means that a free church in the heart of the confederacy was formed and thrived 50 years before the start of the civil war. They had a congregation of almost 2,000, roughly 15 percent of black people in what was, including the enslaved, a majority black city. Because they opened their doors to the enslaved and free alike, services were often raided by police and private militias for violating laws about the hours when slaves could be out amongst “the public.” They were also raided for breaking laws that prohibited teaching slaves to read at Bible study sessions. (It was at one of these Bible study sessions where the shooter opened fire Wednesday night.)
More violence against the church was to come as one of its founders was Denmark Vesey. If you don’t know that name, then your US history class failed you. Vesey was born into bondage on St. Thomas Island where he was known as Telemaque. At age 32 in 1799, Vesey won a city lottery that allowed him to buy his freedom from slavery.
But he did not have the funds in this barbaric system to buy freedom for his wife and children. Under patriarchal master/slave law, this also meant that any future children they had would also be in bondage. This was not a state of affairs Vesey was willing to let stand. He looked at Charleston, a majority black city, and planned an insurrection.
The uprising was planned for…. drum roll… June 17, 1822… (That was yesterday!)
Mindless Media Coverage
— Bipartisan Report (@Bipartisanism) June 18, 2015
Ooops…I almost forgot Fox News, where arming the pastor and saying this was an attack on religion were more important than talking about racism.
Steve Doocy: ( speaking to Senior Pastor of Hope Christian Church, Bishop E.W. Jackson) …it was released earlier—and extraordinarily they called it a hate crime—uhhh, and some look at it, because it was a white guy, apparently, and a black church, uhh, but you made a great point just a moment ago about the hostility towards Christians, so—and it was a church!
Black Voices- Call This Was It Is: Terrorism
From Shaun King at Daily Kos:
This is terrorism.
Don’t call this the act of a madman. It is an insult to those battling mental illness and it is also a degree of deference you never saw given to men like Osama Bin Laden. This is a well planned, well conceived attack. He didn’t stumble upon this church in some type of manic accident. It was strategic.
Dylann Roof was a racist and his actions were driven by his racism. On his jacket, in the picture above, are patches from the racist regimes of apartheid South Africa and colonial Rhodesia. This means he had a philosophy, a worldview, which celebrated the brute force and violence used against Africans on the continent.
Could it be that America, with its deeply troubling racist past, is refusing to call Dylann Roof a terrorist because it would then mean that so many other people in our history who inflicted such pain would also have to fit the bill?
Are we saying that terrorists can’t be white? Are we saying that terrorists can’t be American?
Must they be brown? Must be Muslims?
Of course not. This is terrorism. Calling it anything less is an insult to the victims of this massacre.
From Chauncey DeVega, writing at Salon:
While this horrific event is one more murderous and racist blow to the African-American community in Charleston–the killing of Walter Scott by a white thug cop being the most high-profile and recent offense–the reporting on the mass shooting at Emanuel Baptist is an additional affront via the White Racial Frame as practiced by the mainstream news media.
As shown on MSNBC Wednesday night, a local Charleston reporter asked a group of African-American activists, community leaders what the black community could do to prevent events like the mass shooting at Emanuel Baptist. This bizarre moment continued with the reporter seemingly rejecting the obvious–that racism is an obvious element in the white-on-black murders committed at Emanuel Baptist–and doubling down by suggesting that the black community gives comfort to “snitches,” thus wondering if black folks will in fact turn in a white domestic terrorist who had killed at least nine people.
The headline on the breaking news report about the Charleston shooting was an additional example of how the White Racial Frame dominates news coverage. MSNBC’s screen read “Police searching for 21-year-old suspect.” He was not described as “white”: the American news media is much more likely to racially mark black and brown suspects in crimes, and to include their racial description (or religious/ethnic as in the ubiquitous ”Arab” or “Muslim” “terrorist.”
He Wanted to Start a Civil War
From the Huffington Post:
Dylann Roof’s roommate says the suspect was planning something big leading up to the alleged shooting at a South Carolina church Wednesday that left nine people dead.
Dalton Tyler told ABC News that he’d known Roof for at least seven months, and that the 21-year-old was “planning something like that for six months.”
He was big into segregation and other stuff,” Tyler said. “He said he wanted to start a civil war. He said he was going to do something like that and then kill himself.”
Tyler said he met Roof, a Lexington, South Carolina native, through a good friend. He also said Roof’s parents, with whom he said the suspect was “on and off,” had previously bought him a gun but never allowed him to take it with him until this past week.
Sign the petition: South Carolina, take down the Confederate flag! Click Here.
Petition Text: The Confederate flag is a racist symbol that inflames racially motivated hate crimes like what we just saw happen in Charleston. South Carolina has been ridiculed for years by insisting the flag wave at the State Capitol, but after this tragedy it is well past time to remove it.
On This Day: 1934 – A pioneering sit-down strike was conducted by workers at a General Tire Co. factory in Akron, Ohio. The United Rubber Workers union was founded a year later. The tactic launched a wave of similar efforts in the auto and other industries over the next several years. 1959 – A Federal Court annulled the Arkansas law allowing school closings to prevent integration. 1967 – The Jimi Hendrix Experience made its debut performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in California.
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