Emanuel AME Church
Affectionately known as Mother Emanuel, this historic church serves as one of the oldest black congregations in the South, as well as the very first independent black denomination in the United States.
First established here in 1816, Emanuel AME Church has served as a 'light of love, hope, and resilience for 200 years', earning itself a place not only in the history books but in the hearts of several generations of families in Charleston and beyond. The church's' history is much more complicated than this though, the congregation surviving various natural disasters, and also cultural ones. In 1822 the church was burnt down as a result of the Denmark Vesey slave riot plans, and before that, there was the devastating antebellum ban on black churches in the area.
Still, the church and it's members soldiered on, and major players in the civil rights movement such as Booker T Washington and MLK Jr stood within this very church to give their speeches amidst the turmoil.
Of course, there is also the extremely tragic event that took place in 2015 that has most recently caused grief for the community, when a white supremacist shot and killed 9 members of the church during prayer. Today the church is 'part tourist attraction, part shrine', says Rev. Joseph Darby (vice president of Charleston NAACP).
We believe this will be an educational and sobering experience for your students that will certainly make a personal impact on them.