Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church has announced the 2018 commemorative events surrounding the three-year anniversary of the Emanuel 9 tragedy, the largest racially-motivated mass murder in recent American history that took place on June 17, 2015.
“As the third anniversary of the tragedy approaches, several organizations have partnered with the A.M.E. Church of South Carolina, the Mother Emanuel AME Church, and the city of Charleston to provide opportunities for citizens to engage in meaningful dialogue about unity among all races,” said Rev. Eric Manning, pastor of Mother Emanuel AME Church.
“In addition to honoring the lives and legacies of the Emanuel 9 each year during the month of June, we are committed to speaking out against gun violence each and every day and striving towards achieving racial reconciliation,” Manning said.
The following events are sponsored by, and will take place at, the Mother Emanuel AME Church, located at 110 Calhoun Street, unless otherwise noted:
- June 17, 9:30 am – Worship Service
- A special service in remembrance of the Emanuel 9 and recognition of the five survivors will be held with guest preacher Reverend Matthew L. Watley, Executive Pastor of the Reid Temple AME Church in Glenn Dale, Md.
- June 20, 6 pm – Community Bible Study
- Bible study will be facilitated by Reverend Eric Manning and Reverend Anthony Thompson, husband of Myra Thompson – one of the Emanuel 9. The Praise and Worship Team from Seacoast Church will join in an evening of worship and remembrance.
- June 21, 8:30 am - 4 pm: Calling All Colors
- Local middle school students will convene for interactive sessions addressing issues of tolerance, respect, inclusion and unity with community leaders, educators, elected officials and artists.
- June 23, 9 am - 12:30 pm: Rally for Unity
- Marion Square, 329 Meeting Street
- The Rally for Unity is a call to action to the public to end gun violence and achieve racial reconciliation. Entertainment includes Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Joan Baez and local violinist Daniel D., among others. For more information, visit the Facebook event page here: Emanuel 9 Rally for UNITY. Participants can register by visiting: https://bit.ly/2JpkVIq.
- June 24, 4:30 pm: Morning Grace Gospel Finale
- With the theme, “We Survive,” the gospel finale will honor the Emanuel 9, along with survivors, families and church members. Performers include the Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church Choir, harpist Holly Avesian, Carl Bright and Family, June Dupree, liturgical dancer Stephen Polite, Mario Desaussure, Crystal Brown, Mike Brown and FOCUS, among others.
The following events are sponsored by Charleston community organizations:
- June 1-30 – A Moment of Silence
- John L. Dart Library, 1067 King Street
- To honor the life of librarian Cynthia Graham Hurd, one of the Emanuel 9, visitors can write a note of gratitude for display. The first 100 children will receive a free book provided by the Cynthia Graham Hurd Foundation.
- June 16-30 – The Life and Legacy of Cynthia Graham Hurd
- Charleston County Public Library lobby, 68 Calhoun Street
- Visitors can view a photo display documenting librarian Cynthia Graham Hurd’s 31-year career with the Charleston County Public Library and the community. Selected materials on Mother Emanuel AME Church and the Emanuel 9 will also be on display.
- June 18-23 – Acts of Kindness
- Cynthia Graham Hurd St. Andrews Library, 1735 Woodmere Drive
- In honor of Cynthia Graham Hurd, library visitors can participate in a variety of ways, including: decorating kindness rocks, writing kind notes, donating non-perishable food for the Lowcountry Food Bank and pledging to read.
- June 21 – 2nd Annual Charleston Forum
- Charleston Music Hall, 37 John Street
- The Charleston Forum is a community project that strives to provide a dialogue that moves the conversation forward, with no pre-set agenda but with a common purpose. This year’s Forum promises to continue the conversation, with more voices joining the collective movement to push beyond Charleston’s racially tangled history to a more unified tomorrow. For more information, visit: https://bit.ly/2JA2uE9.
About Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church
The roots of EAMEC run deep in Charleston and its history is one of perseverance in the face of racial hostility. The church is affectionately called Mother Emanuel because it is the oldest A.M.E. church south of Baltimore. The congregation first formed in 1791, a coalition of free blacks and slaves. In 1818, the church joined the A.M.E. connection. In 1822, the church was burned to the ground, after plans for a slave revolt were exposed. The congregation rebuilt the church and met there until 1834 -- when all-black churches were outlawed by the state legislature. Undeterred, members continued to meet in secret until the end of the Civil War in 1865, when they formally reorganized. They adopted the name 'Emanuel,' meaning "God with us." At the time, the church was a wooden two-story structure, and was destroyed in an earthquake in 1886. Once again, it was rebuilt. During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, Mother Emanuel was the location for many of the meetings held by Martin Luther King, Jr. and others. Today, we continue to be a church with a national and international reputation for forgiveness and grace. With seating for 1,200, it has the largest seating capacity of any African-American church in Charleston. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. For information, contact Ms. Sylvia Blake, Executive Assistant to the Pastor at 843-722-2561.