Speaker Series: WE ARE CHARLESTON
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The arresting book, We Are Charleston, opens with the image of assailant Dylann Roof’shandgun he used to kill nine people at Mother Emanuel AME Church on June 17, 2015, but also with the truth of people uniting in love and support in their efforts to relieve pain and challenge the wrongs of racism. I hope you will have interest hosting an event in relation to this deeply meaningful exploration by three remarkable authors, South Carolina Poet Laureate Marjory Wentworth, award-winning journalist Emanuel Church Herb Frazier, and College of Charleston history professor Dr. Bernard Edward Powers. The title, We Are Charleston (Thomas Nelson imprint, W Publishing Group, June 2016), suggests the accumulated knowledge and talent among these three diverse authors and also evokes the universality of the tragedy which in the authors’ words “was an assault on humanity [with] implications that echo far beyond South Carolina.”
The Emanuel Nine (as those who died in the hate crime are now called), the five survivors of that night, and the extended church family serve as models of forgiveness and Christian values within this book that initially situates the reader into the midst of the dreadful experience. From there, the authors explore such subjects as the lives of the nine who died, the historical background of racial unrest in the South and Charleston in particular, the origin and revolutionary ideas of the African Methodist Episopal Church (AME), and the meaning of forgiveness. The closing chapter stirs the reader with its examination of the many positive forces and activity currently taking place in hopes of Charleston’s becoming a model for racial reconciliation.
We Are Charleston is a book for our nation, a book we must read. It makes us aware of the devastating consequences of humanity gone awry in the form of one young man blinded by intense hatred, yet it also awakens us to the gift of grace and goodness in humanity.