As the community of Charleston, SC continues to reel from a horrific hate crime, we feel it is important to take time to honor and remember those who lost their lives at “Mother Emmanuel” AME Church one week ago.
Below are the names and a brief description of each of the nine church members killed by a 21-year-old white supremacist last Wednesday. Click here to see further messages of support and to leave your own.
The Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41: Pinckney was a state senator and the senior pastor of Emanuel AME Church, described by The Atlantic as “The preacher who tried to heal the wounds of Charleston.” Pinckney was married to Jennifer Benjamin and he was the father of two daughters. He had served in the South Carolina state Legislature since 2000, graduated from Allen University in 1995 and earned his master's degree in 1999 from the University of South Carolina. On June 26, President Obama will deliver the eulogy at Pinckney’s funeral. (Obituary)
Cynthia Hurd, 54: Hurd was a manager of the John L. Dart Library for 21 years. In 2011 she took over at St. Andrews Regional Library, which county officials said would be renamed in her honor. A Charleston County library spokesman said Hurd “spent her life helping people,” and she will be rememberd as such. All 16 branches in the Charleston area were closed last Wednesday to honor her and the eight other victims. (Obituary)
The Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45: Coleman-Singleton was a pastor at Emanuel AME Church, a speech therapist at Goose Creek High School, and the coach of the school’s girls track and field team. Chris Pond, who coaches baseball at Goose Creek, said, “She loved everyone and always had a positive attitude about everything.” (Obituary)
Tywanza Sanders, 26: Sanders was working as a barber in North Charleston after graduating from Allen University in Columbia last year with a degree in business administration. He was the nephew of Susie Jackson, who was also in the church on Wednesday, and attempted to protect her before they were both killed. In a school press release, Sanders was described as “quiet with a warm and helpful spirit.” (Obituary)
Ethel Lance, 70: Lance worked as a custodian at the Emmanuel AME Church and the Gaillard Municipal Auditorium for roughly 30 years, but was attending Bible study as a faithful churchgoer last Wednesday. Her daughter described Lance as a "strong woman who just tried to keep her family together," according to The Post and Courier. (Obituary)
Susie Jackson, 87: Jackson was a trustee of the church, a regular presence at Emmanuel Bible studies and was once a member of its choir. She was also the cousin of Ethel Lance, and an aunt to Tywanza Sanders. “She was a loving person,” said her son, Walter Jackson. (Obituary)
Depayne Middleton Doctor, 49: A mother of four who sang in Emanuel's choir, Doctor began working as an admissions coordinator at Southern Wesleyan University in Charleston last December. University President Todd Voss described her as “always a warm and enthusiastic leader,” and her friend Jackie Starkes, who sang in the choir with her, remembered Doctor’s voice as one that “could move the very depth of your heart.” (Obituary)
The Rev. Daniel Simmons, 74: A former pastor at Friendship AME Church in Mount Pleasant, SC, Simmons survived the initial attack last Wednesday but ultimately died in a nearby hospital. According to the The Post and Courier, he was a member of Emmanuel’s ministerial staff and regularly attended Bible study. "We love and we miss him," said his granddaughter Ava Simmons. (Obituary)
Myra Thompson, 59: Thompson was an active member of the church and a former teacher in the Charleston County School District. One of her students said of Thompson, “She was stern, yet loving and wanted you to succeed.” Thompson is survived by her husband Rev. Anthony Thompson, the vicar of Holy Trinity Reformed Episcopal Church in Charleston. (Obituary)