In June 2015, Charleston, the state of South Carolina, and the rest of the country learned with sadness and shock about the horrific actions befallen upon Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church as a lone gunman, fueled by racist hatred, opened fire on a Bible study class, killing nine parishioners at the historic black church in one of the most senseless mass shootings in American history.
Fearing the tragic event could lead to further conflict, the nation watched, first apprehensively, then with admiration, as the church congregation and the community surrounding it responded not with divisive violence, but with unifying support and compassion.
This Thursday, the Sumter County Museum will host three noted authors – Herb Frazier, award-winning journalist and childhood member of Mother Emanuel; Marjory Wentworth, South Carolina’s Poet Laureate; and Dr. Bernard Edward Powers, Jr. – A.M.E. church member and Professor of History at the College of Charleston – as they discuss their book, We Are Charleston: Tragedy and Triumph at Mother Emanuel.
According to organizers, the book “contains interviews and commentary from family and friends of “The Emanuel Nine.” The book also details the deep history of the storied Mother Emanuel Church and the A.M.E. denomination, showing both the power and the price of forgiveness their members have faced through centuries of racism.”
The talk and following book signing is free and open to the public. The event begins at 6 p.m.
In addition to the conversation with the authors, the museum will also unveil a poster exhibit provided by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibit Service. Entitled “Choosing to Participate,” the goal of the exhibit is to encourage viewers “to consider the consequences of our everyday choices in a historical perspective—to discover how “little things are big”—and to make a difference in their own communities.”
The Sumter County Museum is located at 122 N. Washington St. in downtown Sumter. For more information on the upcoming presentation, or on any of the various events and exhibits at the Sumter County Museum, visit the museum’s website, which can be found here.
More information about We Are Charleston, including a link to receive the first chapter of the book free of charge, can be found here.