13 Moving Photos Of The Charleston Victims' Funerals That Make Clear How Deeply The Community Is Grieving
In the week after the shooting that killed nine people at a historic church in Charleston, South Carolina, the city has been mourning with church services and candlelight vigils. Funerals for two of the victims, Ethel Lance and Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, were held Thursday, and services for the remaining seven will be held throughout the next week, according to CNN. Photos of the Charleston victims' funerals are poignant and heartbreaking, and clearly emit the grief felt by the community.
Lance, who was 70 years old, was retired after 34 years in the performing arts, according to CNN. Her grandson, Brandon Risher, gave the eulogy at her funeral. He said his grandmother, "was a victim of hate, but she can be a symbol of love," according to CNN. "Hate is powerful," he said. "But love is more powerful." Her funeral was held at the Royal Missionary Baptist Church.
Coleman-Singleton was a speech therapist and high school track coach. Her son, Chris Singleton, is a college baseball player, according to the New York Times. Chris described her as "a God-fearing woman (who) loved everybody with all her heart," and said that hate wouldn't have a chance if everyone loved the way she did, according to CNN. Coleman-Singleton's funeral took place at the Mount Moriah Baptist Church. Groups of people embraced during their funerals and cried together.
The body of state senator and Rev. Clementa Pinckney returned to the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the site of the shooting, after laying at the South Carolina State House rotunda in Columbia so members of the public could pay their respects, according to the Times. Clementa's funeral will be held at Emanuel AME Friday. President Barack Obama will deliver Clementa's eulogy at TD Arena Friday.
When Pinckney's casket was being carried into the state house Wednesday, onlookers broke out into "We Shall Overcome," according to the Times. Hundreds of people filed by his casket that day to pay their respects. On Wednesday night, the interim pastor for Emanuel AME, Rev. Norvel Goff Sr., reconsecrated the grounds. About 150 worshipers gathered to hear his lesson, titled "The Power Of Love," according to CNN. The service took place in a scarred room, where a bullet hole was taped over with the police number H-17. Goff told the crowd that Bible study would continue, but that "because of what happened, we will never be the same," according to CNN:
This territory belongs to God. ...Last week, dark powers came over Mother Emanuel. But, that's all right. God in his infinite wisdom said, 'That's all right, I've got the nine.'
The alleged shooter, Dylann Roof, allegedly attended one of the church's Bible studies and then opened fire, telling the room that he came "to shoot black people," according to CNN. In disturbing online posts, Roof allegedly said he was white supremacist who supported segregation, according to the Washington Post. Photos of him posing with Confederate flags and flags of Apartheid-era South Africa have reignited debates about racism and the use of the Confederate flag throughout the South.
Funerals for Tywanza Sanders, who tried to talk Roof into surrendering and tried to help his aunt, Susie Jackson, who was also killed, will be buried Saturday, according to the Times. Services for both Sanders, Jackson, and librarian and longtime church member Cynthia Hurd will be held at Emanuel AME. The rest of the victims' services will be held next week.
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