op-ed: the charleston church shooting is another reason why south carolina needs to get rid of the confederate flag

June 19, 2015

Dylann Roof, 21, white, walked into the oldest church in the south, Emanuel AME Church, setting off fire killing nine people. “You rape our women and are taking over our country,” was his justification. But in Roof’s case, we didn’t know who he was. The day of his birthday, it wasn’t reported that he received a 45-caliber pistol from his father. No one published a story in the news when Dylann first received a jacket with flags of Apartheid-era South Africa and Rhodesia stitched on the right side of his heart. His own roommate who knew that Roof had been “planning on something like this for six months” didn’t even take his thoughts seriously. But Dylann Roof and the rest of America have at least one thing in common. We both know South Carolina.

By Phillip Jackson, AFROPUNK Contributor


Charleston, SC—who still allows the raising and waiving of the bars and stars in front of their State Capitol building in Columbia, it is no wonder why a Confederate state would be still having these issues. The church was founded amidst the heat of slavery. Denmark Vesey, purchased his freedom in 1799, led a slave revolt in 1822, which included slaves from other plantations miles away, was one of its founders in 1818.


“Mother Emanuel”, the name coined by many church attendees for it’s prestigious and rich history with the battle for equality in the south, would see members like Booker T. Washington, Martin Luther King Jr., and Coretta Scott King. The church was a place of sanctuary. It was welcoming, and was a place where people felt safety. But no matter how intimate people felt with the church, they were still in a confederate state.


South Carolina’s “Lynchings: By State and Race” from 1882-1968 report 4 lynchings of whites, while 156 blacks were lynched during that time period according to the UKMC School of Law. While all of this occurred, the confederacy of South Carolina still sported their flags proudly through cities in towns.


Back in 2014, Republican Gov. Nikki Haley caped the presence and importance of having the Confederate flag still standing in her state. In a debate, she acknowledged that the flag was an issue of insensitivity, but still held strong on her decline to get rid of it.


South Carolina is at fault. They know their own history. They know about the history hatred, their history of slavery, their history of racial hate crimes and they know about their prominent leaders, past white supremacists Robert E. Lee and James Longstreet.  Being that the state is still inspired to pay homage to their eerie, haunted, and sinister history—the state still feels a need to stay connected to their roots.


Dylann Roof knew this to. He was aware that South Carolina still hasn’t detached them from the epidemic of systematic racism. Roof chose to grab his gun, he chose to shoot inside a black church, he chose to walk in, looking every member in the eye and requesting to sit next to one of the most prominent figures in the state—the pastor. He wanted to start a race war and he wanted to kill black people. Dylann Roof thought he was doing justice for his state.


For the nine members of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church, their blood is on the State’s hands. The government’s insensitivity and ignorance of the people who stay in their state, paying taxes, working, and going to voting polls contributed to these nine murders.


They attributed to the assassination of former Democratic Senator, Clementa C. Pinckney, in his own church, by a 21-year-old unremorseful, white supremacist, and race-hating hothead.  South Carolina still loves their heritage. The state needs to take responsibility for this massacre. No more general statements because you have to speak. Remove the flag, put your history in the past.


Phillip Jackson’s blog: emancipatemywords.blogspot.com

  Twitter: @philljabstract