Clergy from around the country came to Charleston, SC in the wake of the murder of nine people at an evening Bible study by a racist killer. There have been no riots, no looting, and no reciprocal violence; and that speaks volumes about the people of Charleston. The world now looks to this city, some hoping for peace and some hoping that violence will occur to feed the news cycle. But it’s not going to happen. The people of Charleston will not let it occur because a song is being sung in the city. A song that reminds all that birth and death, pain and suffering make us all the same.
The tributes of flowers, pictures, and signs that surround the front of Emmanuel AME are a reminder that thousands care about the Black lives lost at the church. Young and old, Black and White came together and suffered through the 100 degree heat to listen, pray and begin to find some semblance of understanding regarding one of the worst mass killings of Blacks in years. But there is a deeper pain that is being perpetuated by the state of South Carolina. The Governor has so far refused to lower the Confederate flag at the state capitol. That symbol of southern history and violence still flies high and is a smack in face of all people of good consciousness — especially to Black South Carolinians, who are dealing with the this horrible racial mass murder. Some people say the flag has nothing to do with the crime, but they are wrong. The Confederate flag serves as continuing inspiration to divide the races wherever it is flown and is a constant reminder of Black pain inflicted not only by individuals but the state. But the opinion of Black people in this matter does not count, as defenders of “Dixie” speak of their proud southern heritage. They remember the fallen Confederate dead and their valor on the battlefield. So what, those Confederate dead were traitors to the union of the United States and fought to keep Black people enslaved.
Dylann Roof used this flag as a reminder of this hatred and his desire to start a race war. But he did not have to start a race war, the race war started when Blacks were kidnapped and enslaved to build America and continued with Jim Crow and beyond. The proof of this race war is evident in battle scarred urban communities were many Blacks struggle to exist and are plagued by the social disease of poverty and second class citizenship. By flying the Confederate Flag Blacks are constantly enduring the psychic pain of racism and White Supremacy. Imagine if in this country the Swastika of Nazi Germany was flown in every state. Jews across the world would be outraged because of this reminder of the Holocaust. But the Confederate flag, a reminder of the Black Holocaust, is willingly accepted by the states of the South.