A moving article from Professor Manigault-Bryant:

A text from my mother on the night of June 17, 2015 alerted me that something had happened in Charleston, and that “folks had gotten shot” at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Calhoun Street. Hours before it hit the mainstream media, my mother had prepared me—in her own news-like fashion—of the terror that has subsequently unfolded.

Yet again, the news driving the global headlines has struck close to home for me. Last month, the Walter Scott shooting left me reeling in part because of its close proximity to my family. Today, I sit stewing in rage, sorrow, and fear at the needless execution of black lives. That this moment so readily harkens to the 1963 bombing at Sixteenth Street Baptist Church (Birmingham, AL) that snatched the young lives Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley, and injured over twenty others is disturbingly surreal. Many are writing, tweeting, chatting, and posting about the devastating, injurious media loop that has numbed us to the overwhelming violence against black bodies. So too are we discussing the increasing sense of return to an era that looks and feels like the pre-Civil Rights period than to the twenty-first century. My conversation with my good friend and social media goddess Nyasha Junior a short while ago solidified the sense that, even though the outcries against this act are timely and meaningful, my cup of hope is far from running over. Rather, my storage is nearly empty.

I know Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church well. My familiarity with Emanuel AME is not just because I am a religious scholar of the American South and I know the church is among the oldest black churches in America (1817). It is not solely because I am from the South Carolina lowcountry and was taught at a young age how Emanuel AME was a space for Denmark Vesey and Gullah Jack to protest their conditions during the era of enslavement before they were hanged and the church was burned to the ground.[2] Nor is my familiarity with Emanuel AME because I have written about the religious practices of South Carolina’s Gullah/Geechee folks.[3] My relationship with “Mother Emanuel” is an intimate one, one that is framed by innumerable childhood experiences across the street from the church. For many years, my grandmother rented a large apartment above what was then Harleston-Boags Funeral Home.

Read the whole thing.

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