On December 15th, 2016, Dylann Roof, of Columbia SC, was found guilty on all thirty-three federal charges against him that spawned from the “Charleston Church Shooting” hate crimes in Charleston, South Carolina.
On June 17th, 2015, Roof, a white 21-year old, entered “Mother” Emmanuel AME church in Charleston, attended Bible Study, and during the closing prayer and benediction, he commenced to shoot and kill nine parishioners before fleeing the scene. All victims were black.
The victims were: Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lee Lance, Depayne Middleton-Doctor, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel Simmons, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Myra Thompson, and the Senior Pastor and State Senator, Clementa C Pinckney. They now are forever known as the Charleston 9.
During court proceedings and recorded testimony, Roof claimed that he wanted to incite a “race war.” Roof owned a website, which he called, “The Last Rhodesian,” where he expressed neo-Nazi sentiments, and posted pictures with white supremacist-type symbols. He also outlined his manifesto against non-white races.
An excerpt from lastrhodesian.com:
“I have no choice. I am not in the position to, alone, go into the ghetto and fight. I chose Charleston because it is most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country. We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the internet. Well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.”
Three weeks after the massacre, the battle flag of the Confederate States of America was razed from the State house grounds. This came after Governor Nikki Haley signed a bill into law that passed in the House with a two-thirds majority.
The controversy surrounding that flag can, and has been, debated in this state for over 150 years. The magnitude of the symbol is deeply profound. Flown above the state house until July 2000 in South Carolina, the flag is overwhelmingly viewed by many polls and petitions as a symbol of racism to blacks and other minorities.
That flag has been hijacked by hate. That statement is undeniable. Too many radical extremists have used that historic symbol to connect to a current statement which has manifested itself in crimes of hatred toward others. While the history of the flag is celebrated by southern heritage and regionalism, many more peoples can only equate the banner as a symbol of oppression, racism, and opposition to the union of America as whole.
Let us not hold our brothers and sisters accountable for the sins or the struggles of our fathers, but, let us march on until victory is won for us all. It’s past time to raze the Confederate Flag from public flagpoles and we must raze the hate of Dylan Roof.