Less than a week after nine African-American church members were brutally gunned down by a white supremacist, a church in Charlotte, North Carolina was set on fire. It has been ruled arson.
The fire began Wednesday morning at Briar Creek Road Baptist Church in Charlotte. More than 75 fire fighters were at the scene. Two firefighters were injured. Fortunately, none of the congregants were in the church at the time.
Investigators haven’t yet released the full report, but they do know now that it was arson. They don’t know the motivation, but investigators are certainly not ruling out the possibility that it’s a hate crime.
Here’s the video:
If this is a copycat crime of sorts, it’s not the first. Last Thursday a Virginia man was arrested for shouting racial slurs and threatening to kill members of a predominantly black church. Fortunately, they were only threats.
There was a time, not that many years ago, that black people were not allowed to attend “white churches.” It wasn’t enough for Southern racists that black people weren’t welcome in their church. They didn’t want them to have any place of worship at all. Fire has historically been a favorite weapon of the Ku Klux Klan.
Even 30 years after the Civil Rights Act, there was a wave of bombings of African-American churches. There was a two year period in the mid-90s where several black churches were burned. Before Wednesday’s attack, the most recent arson on a church was (surprise) on the day Barack Obama was inaugurated.
Congressional hearings were held in 1996 at the end of a two-year period when such arson spiked across the southeast. In South Carolina alone, black churches that suffered probable arson attacks included Mt. Zion AME Church in Williamsburg, Macedonia Baptist Church in Manning, Saint Paul Baptist Church in Lexington, Rosemary Baptist Church in Barnwell, St. John Baptist Church in Dixiana, Effington Baptist Church, Mount Olivet Baptist Church, and Allen’s Chapel. One member of Congress likened fire-bombings in those years to “the return of a biblical plague.” The most recent burning of a black church to make national headlines occurred in Massachusetts the day Barack Obama was inaugurated as the first black president. A white man was later convicted in what prosecutors called a racially motivated arson attack.
Source: The Atlantic
Perhaps it’s time for even Republicans to admit that racism is far, far, far from over and it’s mostly from their side. Of course, that would mean admitting that so many of them are racist.
Featured image via video screen capture.