1) In 1816 Black members of Charleston’s Methodist Episcopal Church withdrew over disputed burial grounds and under the leadership of Morris Brown, formed a circuit of 3 churches of people of color affiliated with the newly established African Methodist Episcopal Church. Emanuel’s congregation grew out of the Hampstead Church, located at Reid and Hanover Streets.
2) In 1822 the church was investigated for its involvement with a planned slave revolt. Denmark Vesey, one of the church’s founders, had organized plans for a major slave uprising in Charleston. The plot was foiled by an informant, and Vesey was hanged, along with 36 enslaved people.
3) As a result of the revolt plot, Emanuel AME Church was burned, and laws were passed in a number of southern states restricting the movement of Black people.
4) Parishioners rebuilt the church after fire and worshipped there until 1834, when South Carolina outlawed all-Black churches.
5) The congregation had to continue worshipping underground until 1865, when the church formally reorganized. It was then that the name “Emanuel” ( meaning “God is with us”) was adopted.
In an interview with NBC affiliate station WIS, a woman claiming to be Pinckney’s cousin relayed an account from a survivor in the room.
“She said that he had reloaded five different times and her son was trying to talk him out of doing that, killing people, and he just said, ‘I have to do it’ and he said, ‘You rape all women and you taking over our country and you have to go,’” Pinckney’s cousin said.
Pastor John Paul Brown of nearby Mt. Zion Church said churches in Charleston are generally welcoming of strangers.
“Charleston is called the Holy City for a reason,” Brown told msnbc. “To have that apprehension about the safety of churches, there’s just no way to lock every door and check everyone who comes in…You can’t say ‘I represent Christ, let me frisk you.’”
Can't wear hoodies— Nerdy Wonka (@NerdyWonka) June 18, 2015
Can't play with toy guns
Can't go to swimming pools
Can't listen to music
Can't worship in church