What’s Happening: A Suspect Has Been Arrested in ‘Hate Crime’ Shooting
Acting on a tip, authorities arrested Dylann Roof, the suspect in Wednesday night’s massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The 21-year-old is believed to have carried out the shooting after sitting with congregants for over an hour, killing nine people.
Suspected hate crime: In a press conference on Thursday, Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen told reporters “I do believe this was a hate crime.” If it determined to be so, it will fall in with a sad, continuing litany of incidents involving attacks on black churches in America. As Conor Friedersdorf writes in The Atlantic, “Black churches suffered at the hands of thugs and terrorists throughout the Civil Rights era, as they had for a century before, but such attacks aren’t a matter of remote history.”
The history of the church: In a speech on Wednesday afternoon, President Obama nodded to the specific political legacy of “Mother Emanuel” church, which is historically linked to both the civil rights era and the Civil War. In an interview with The Atlantic’s Yoni Appelbaum, Professor Douglas Egerton explained how the oldest church south of the Mason-Dixon Line has remained a pillar of the black community in Charleston and the South.