New Book Marks Anniversary Of Tragic Charleston Shooting, With Interviews From Victims’ Families

This June also is upcoming hearing of the shooter, Dylan Roof

The recent mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, this month is a reminder of how hatred in America can turn to violence and tragic bloodshed.

We are Charleston sheds light and adds a new voice to the tragedy surrounding last year’s devastating Charleston, South Carolina, shootings. The book releases this week  preceding the anniversary and hearing date of the shooter, Dylan Roof. We Are Charleston is a comprehensive account of last summer’s tragic events at South Carolina’s Mother Emanuel Church. The book from Thomas Nelson’s W Publishing Group will contain interviews and commentary from family and friends of ‘The Emanuel Nine.’

It also will detail the 230-year history of the A.M.E. Church – the largest body of African American Methodists with 7.5 million members world-wide – and its role in America’s social justice story from slavery to the civil rights movement. The book will also discuss the importance of Mother Emanuel Church itself, both to the Charleston community and to the nation, showing both the power and the price of forgiveness their members have faced through centuries of racism.

The book was written by South Carolina’s Poet Laureate Majory Wentworth and South Carolina-based writers Herb Frazier (award-winning journalist and childhood member of Mother Emanuel), and Dr. Bernard Edward Powers (A.M.E. Church member and professor of history at the College of Charleston). The writings are based on extensive interviews with family and friends of the church members who lost their lives on June 17, 2015, when a young man opened fire on their prayer meeting.

“Nothing this tragic happens in a vacuum. Whether it be terrorism abroad or racism within, we have become the products of many years of anger in our culture,” notes Matt Baugher, senior vice president of Thomas Nelson and Publisher of W Publishing Group. “Through its powerful portrayal of history and its stirring narrative from the present day, We are Charleston brilliantly shows all of us the importance of awareness, action, and yes, even forgiveness.”

“The tragedy at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church affected us deeply,” the authors said in a group statement. “This book is our attempt to honor those whose lives were lost, the survivors and their families, by telling their stories in the context of Charleston, the nation’s racial history and the social justice efforts that have been the hallmark of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.”