How To Watch Obama's Eulogy At Clementa Pinckney's Funeral, Which Will Be Held For The Adored Reverend Friday
It's been a week since nine people were killed at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and the victims' funerals have begun as the community continues to grieve. Services for Ethel Lance and Sharonda Coleman-Singleton were held Thursday, and Rev. Clementa Pinckney's funeral will be Friday morning. President Obama and Vice President Biden both plan to attend the pastor's funeral, and Obama will deliver the eulogy. If you want to watch President Obama's eulogy, PBS News Hour will broadcast live coverage of the service, being held at the College of Charleston, starting at 11 a.m. EDT.
Pinckney was a senior pastor at the historically black church, as well as a Democratic state senator, and is survived by his wife, Jennifer Benjamin, and his two children, Eliana and Malana. The reverend was an influential leader in Charleston committed to public service, fighting for the use of police body cameras after Walter Scott, an unarmed black South Carolina man was fatally shot by the police earlier this year.
He wanted his historic church to represent freedom, and in a 2013 speech, he said:
Could we not argue that America is about freedom whether we live it out or not? Freedom, equality and the pursuit of happiness. And that is what church is all about: freedom to worship and freedom from sin, freedom to be full of what God intends us to be, and to have equality in the sight of God.
Obama and Biden both knew Pinckney. According to The New York Times, Obama met him when campaigning for the 2008 election and Biden had seen him within the last year at a prayer breakfast in Charleston. White House officials told TIME that the first lady will also attend the service.
When speaking about the Charleston massacre last week, President Obama said Pinckney and his congregation understood the "spirit" of Martin Luther King Jr. He said:
Their Christian faith compelled them to reach out not just to members of their congregation or to members of their own communities, but to all in need. They opened their doors to strangers who might enter a church in search of healing or redemption.
Mother Emanuel Church and its congregation have risen before from flames, from an earthquake, from other dark times to give hope to generations of Charlestonians, and with our prayers and our love and the buoyancy of hope, it will rise again now as a place of peace.
The president's eulogy is a huge opportunity for him to further address the racial issues facing America, while also honoring Pinckney. Watch it live tomorrow morning here.
Images: Emanuel AME (1); Getty Images (1)