2015 Charleston Shooting--Map Submission, Fitch (Revised, Dec 2021)

South Carolina has a long, violent, and racist history, effectively setting a morbid backdrop for the events that unfolded on June 17, 2015. The Charleston shooting occurred in a church named the Emanuel African Methodist Episocopal Church (A.M.E.) The church had become somewhat of a hub for social justice and political activism. Denmark Vesey was one of the founders of the church and used it as a homebase for what the National Park Service describes as, “an enslaved insurrection” against slave-owners and both city and state officials. Douglas R. Egerton continues the story by describing how the city eventually destroyed the church, only for it to be rebuilt by Vesey’s son Robert. Then, when an earthquake struck Charleston in the 1880s, members of the church helped to rebuild and repair damages to it (“Before Charleston’s Shooting, a Long History of Attacks”). 

In more recent times, the church community has been active in preserving and sharing their history. A major discussion point of 2015 was the act of removing Confederate statues and monuments, and the Emanuel A.M.E. Church group was very involved with that movement. One of the victims, Clementa Pinckney, was a former Senator and pastor of the church. Egerton describes Pinckney as, “...instrumental in funding the statue of Vesey that was finally erected in February 2014” (“Before Charleston’s Shooting, a Long History of Attacks”). When Dylann Roof decided to attack this particular church, he was not just attacking those 9 victims. He attacked the entire Black community, every congregate of that church, and its founders. As Egerton so eloquently put it, “...the world will find out more about Dylann Storm Roof and his state of mind. But to dismiss him as simply a troubled young man is to disregard history” (“Before Charleston’s Shooting, a Long History of Attacks”).


Works Cited

“Denmark Vesey (U.S. National Park Service).” National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, https://www.nps.gov/people/denmark-vesey.htm. Web.

Egerton, Douglas R. "Before Charleston's Church Shooting, a Long History of Attacks."ProQuest, Jun 18, 2015, https://www.proquest.com/blogs-podcasts-websites/before-charlestons-chur.... Web.


Latitude: 32.776474900000
Longitude: -79.931051200000

Timeline of Events Associated with 2015 Charleston Shooting--Map Submission, Fitch (Revised, Dec 2021)

Date Event Manage
17 Jun 2015

The 2015 Charleston Shooting--Fitch Timeline Submission (Revised, Dec 2021)

In South Carolina in 2015, a 21-year-old white man named Dylann Roof shot and killed nine people.  The shooting was in Charleston at a Black church, and all nine victims were Black church-goers.  Roof sat with the victims and other members for over an hour studying the Bible before he pulled out a gun and began the massacre.  Brent C. Talbot quotes Dylann Roof who, when prompted by victim Tywanza Sanders before his death, stated, “‘I have to do it. You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go’” (Talbot 2). 

News outlets such as CNN and Fox News heavily covered the attack in the days that followed the murders.  This is important to note because news networks give information to millions of Americans with certain, subtle undertones and narratives.  Roof had (and still has) an intensely racist background; however, this can be overshadowed or outright ignored based on how news networks and social media platforms consistently deliver updates.  Mohammed el-Nawawy and Mohamad Hamad Elmsary conducted research about the way networks spoke of the shooting, specifically AC 360 on CNN.  According to them, AC 360 focused on the positivity and grace the Charleston community possessed following the attacks.  However, when speaking of Roof himself, the news anchors did not address him by name or show pictures of him.  Instead, they spoke of him as a troubled young man who had prior trouble with drugs and racist ideologies (el-Nawawy and Elmasry 950).  Right-wing show The O’Reilly Factor consistently inserted personal bias from O’Reilly himself and did very little reporting on the event itself; instead, the show connected the shooting to politics of America, focusing mostly on how the Second Amendment needed protecting more than ever.  O’Reilly also made a significant point of saying that institutional racism no longer exists, so the shooting could not be connected back to it or structural violence (el-Nawawy and Elmasry 950). 

The debate went on for days and thoroughly divided America. The background of the shooting was filled with cries for the removal of Confederate statues around the nation--the shooting only exacerbated those pleas and arguments against them. Through popular, national news coverage, Dylann Roof and the nine victims--Reverend Clementa Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders, Reverend Sharonda Singleton, Cynthia Hurd, Reverend DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Ethel Lace, Susie Jackson, Myra Thompson, Reverend Daniel Simmons Sr.--made tragic history in the ongoing battle of racism in America.


Works Cited

el-Nawawy, Mohammed, and Mohamad Hamas Elmasry. "Is America “Post-Racist”? How AC 360 and The O’Reilly Factor discursively constructed the Charleston church shooting." Journalism Studies 19.7 (2018): 942-959. Web. 

Talbot, Brent C. "“Charleston, Goddam”: An Editorial Introduction to ACT 14.2." Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education 14.2 (2015). Web.