Project Showcase: A Tribute to the Mother Emanuel Church

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Mother Emanuel Photo

Memorabilia left outside of the Emanuel AME Church. Photo credit: Brandon Coffey

June 17, 2016 marked the one-year anniversary of the tragic mass shooting at the Emanuel AME Church, also known as Mother Emanuel, in Charleston, South Carolina. A new online exhibition published by the Lowcountry Digital History Initiative (LDHI), “A Tribute to the Mother Emanuel Church,” documents the outpouring of emotion and grief for the victims, survivors, and their families. It also highlights diverse community efforts to address racial injustice and violence in the weeks and months following the killings in Charleston. 

Featuring more than two hundred photographs from professional photographers, news outlets, and individuals on social media, “A Tribute to the Mother Emanuel Church” documents the memorabilia left by visitors to Mother Emanuel in the aftermath of the shooting. The project also features images of the prayer vigils, marches, and protests against racist symbols, such as the Confederate battle flag, that took place in South Carolina and around the country in response to the tragedy.

Conceived as a dynamic resource for both healing and education, this online exhibition is freely accessible to the public. Additions will be made over time to document the lasting impact of the killings at Mother Emanuel and the outgrowth of community and national responses. Drawing from the #Charlestonsyllabus, the exhibition also includes a resource guide highlighting educational materials about the historical context surrounding the shooting and the broader history of racial injustice and violence in the South Carolina Lowcountry, as well as across the U.S. South and the nation.

“A Tribute to the Mother Emanuel Church” was co-curated by Lowcountry Africana, the Lowcountry Digital History Initiative, and the College of Charleston’s Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture. This collaborative project was developed in partnership with the Emanuel AME Church and its Memorabilia Sub-Committee. The College of Charleston’s Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI) provided funding made possible by a major grant from Google.

LDHI is a digital public history project hosted by the Lowcountry Digital Library at the College of Charleston. To learn more, visit LDHI or contact Mary Battle, Co-Director, or Amanda Noll, Project Coordinator.

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