Eight Black Churches Burned in the South

Firefighters battled a fire at the Mt. Zion AME Church in Greeleyville, South Carolina, on Tuesday, June 30, 2015. (Credit: WCIV)
Firefighters battled a fire at the Mt. Zion AME Church in Greeleyville, South Carolina, on Tuesday, June 30, 2015. (Credit: WCIV)

by Chris Rivera

With the recent burning of churches within the past few weeks people are beginning to speculate whether or not these churches are part of a hate crime or something less sinister, especially after the massacre that occurred at Charleston’s Emmanuel AME church, where Dylann Roof murdered nine of its patrons, which included its senior pastor, who was also a senator, Clementa Pickney. The massacre at the predominately black church led people to protest and demand a ban of the Confederate flag.
The first church to be reported was the Seventh Day Adventist church in Knoxville, Tennessee, which burned in the early morning of June 22nd. This church is being reported as an act of arson as reported by authorities.
The next church that went up in flames was God’s Power Church of Christ of Macon, Georgia and this occurred on June 23rd. God’s Power Church of Christ is also being labeled as arson by Georgia’s Bureau of Investigation and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

A fire at Briar Creek Road Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C., was ruled arson. Time Warner News screenshot

On June 24th Briar Creek Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina buried which destroyed an educational building on the grounds. The fire caused $250,000 in damages. They are also stating that this fire was “intentionally set” said David Williams, who is Charlotte’s Fire Department Senior Investigator, when he was talking to the Associated Press.
Also on June 24th First Presbyterian Church of Fruitland in Gibson, Tennessee too was engulfed in flames. At first they thought that lighting caused the fire, but authorities are looking into the case.
On June 26th Glover Grove Baptist Church in Warrenville, South Carolina was up in flames. The pastor of Glover Grove told local media that the church has been vandalized in the past by the KKK. Authorities are still investigating the cause of the fire, and patrons of the church as saying that it can’t be an electrical problem that caused the fire since Rev. Bobby Jean Jones is a licensed electrician.
On the same day in Tallahassee, Florida, there was a fire at Miracle Temple. The investigators are saying the possible cause of the fire is exposed wires on the building.
In Elyria, Ohio, on the 27th of June, College Heights Baptist Church caught on fire. Authorities are still investigating the fire, they haven’t ruled out arson just yet.
On June 30th Mt. Zion African Methodist Episcopal was a victim to fire, which collapsed the roof of the church. Authorities are still unaware on what caused the fire. This is not the first time the church has been engulfed in flames, the churched burned down in June of 1995 by two members of the Christian Knights of the KKK.

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