(Charleston, SC) The Lowcountry Digital History Initiative, Lowcountry Africana, and the College of Charleston’s Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture are pleased to present a new online exhibition, “A Tribute to the Mother Emanuel Church,” developed in partnership with the Emanuel A.M.E. Church and the church’s Memorabilia Sub-Committee. This online tribute documents local and national responses to the tragic mass shooting that took place at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church, also known as Mother Emanuel, on June 17th, 2015 in downtown Charleston, South Carolina.
Through photographs from a range of sources, this visual account reveals an overwhelming outpouring of emotion and grief for the victims, survivors, and their families, as well as powerful efforts in the weeks and months following the shooting to address racial injustice and violence.
With over two hundred photographs generously contributed by professional photographers, news outlets, and individuals on social media, this freely accessible online tribute highlights images of the memorabilia left by visitors to Mother Emanuel in the aftermath of the tragedy. These materials include flowers, letters, candles, and artwork as well as banners, posters, and boards covered in messages of support. The project also features images of the many prayer vigils, marches, and protests against symbols such as the Confederate flag that took place in the Charleston area and around the country following the shooting.
The pastor of Emanuel A.M.E. Church, Rev. Dr. Betty Deas Clark notes, “We see this online tribute as a healing and educational resource, for Mother Emanuel and the wider Charleston community.”
Lowcountry Africana is honored to co-curate this online tribute. We hope that it will be healing in some way for all who view it, and we thank photographer Brandon Coffey for his moving photographs of the memorial gifts left in front of the church in the days after the tragedy.
About the Project
“A Tribute to the Mother Emanuel Church” is funded in part by the College of Charleston’s Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI), supported by a major grant from Google. The mission of RSJI is to promote public awareness and dialogue about race and social justice issues in the Charleston area, the state of South Carolina, and beyond, through a collaborative effort led by the Avery Research Center, Addlestone Library, the African American Studies Program, the Lowcountry Digital History Initiative (LDHI), and multiple community partners. More information about RSJI can be found online: go.cofc.edu/rsji.
The Lowcountry Digital History Initiative (LDHI) is a digital public history project hosted by the Lowcountry Digital Library at the College of Charleston. In partnership with the Avery Research Center and the Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World Program, LDHI’s mission is to facilitate the development of projects that highlight underrepresented race, class, gender, and labor histories within the Lowcountry region and the historically interconnected Atlantic World.