Ever since Dylann Roof gunned down nine innocent people at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, a string of church burnings has erupted across the South. The churches that have burned are black churches.
The latest black church burning occurred Tuesday night in South Carolina, reported the Huffington Post. This is the seventh church to burn down since the Charleston shooting.
Of the seven burned churches, three already have been confirmed as arsons, and federal authorities are looking into whether they are hate crimes.
Heavy fire at Mt Zion AME church near Greeleyville in Williamsburg County. Mutual aid dept’s on scene. pic.twitter.com/GoQESXdJPS
— Carter Jones (@SCFireCarter) July 1, 2015
CCFD on scene mutual aide to Williamsburg County for working fire at Mt. Zion AME Church. Fire now under control. pic.twitter.com/Wt13RLGQDo
— Clarendon County FD (@clarendonfire) July 1, 2015
The Mt. Zion AME fell victim to a hate crime-related burning in 1995, when two former Ku Klux Klan members admitted to burning the church.
Since the early 20th century, black church burnings have been a tactic of racist hate groups to elicit fear and violence against the African-American community. Considering that seven black churches have burned since the Charleston shootings, the burnings hardly seem like a coincidence.
Especially since the Confederate flag has become a casualty in the race debate, pro-South rednecks and white supremacists alike have been outspoken critics of the flag’s removal from several state grounds.