Charleston unveils memorial plans for victims of church massacre


Designs were revealed for a memorial that will be erected in honor of the nine victims and five survivors of the shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church by a racist gunman three years ago.

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On Sunday, as part of its 200th anniversary celebration, the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church released plans which was designed by 9/11 memorial architect Michael Arad, reports the NY Times.

The design will be centered on a marble fountain which will have the names of the nine victims of the racist attack etched on it.

There will be stone benches made of white marble placed on each side of the fountain, that will be taller than visitors and stand as a symbol for sheltering wings, according to a news release. And a pathway will lead to a prayer garden.

The memorial will also explore the suffering and the resilience of the historic church.

While the plans for the church memorial have been revealed, they still need to raise $15 million to $20 million, for the project, according to John Darby, a prominent local developer who is a co-chairman of the campaign along with Emanuel’s pastor, the Rev. Eric S.C. Manning.

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White supremacist Dylann Roof gunned down nine people inside Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in a racially motivated shooting.

On June 17, 2015 Roof killed the Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, the Rev. DePayne Middleton Doctor, Cynthia Hurd, Ethel Lee Lance, Susie Jackson, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders, the Rev. Daniel Simmons and Myra Thompson.

The memorial will be built on an asphalt lot where Roof parked his car before joining the church’s Bible study session. When the congregants closed their eyes for the benediction, Roof opened fire.

The survivors’ garden will be surrounded by marble benches—one for each of the three women and two children who escaped the massacre (Pastor Pinckney’s widow, Jennifer Benjamin Pinckney, and one of their daughters; Tywanza Sanders’ mother, Felicia Sanders, and her young granddaughter;and Polly Sheppard).

There will also reportedly be a sixth survivor’s bench erected to represent Mother Emanuel herself.