#WhoIsBurningBlackChurches, Black Twitter Demands Answers

Since the murderous acts of terror (which left nine Black people dead) at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina two weeks ago, six Black churches in the South have burned. While some are debating whether these incidents are “random,” many in the Black community believe that these occurrences are in direct response to the removal of the confederate flag from several state buildings and the threat of removal nationally by many activists. Given that this spate of church fires have only been at predominantly Black churches in the South, it seems clear that the events are connected. Right?

Fires have happened in South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida. The most recent church burning happened just last night in Greeleyville, South Carolina at Mount Zion AME Church. This is the second time this church was burned down as members of the KKK attacked the church in 1995. That these churches are all concentrated in areas with known affiliations to hate groups and historical racism should raise red flags to officials and investigators that these are not random events. So far, three of these events have been confirmed as arson.

The most unsettling aspect of these recent acts of terror is how little the news media has discussed it. While it has been mentioned on the major networks here and there, there doesn’t seem to be a consistent show of concern for the blatant racism these incidents depict.

America has a long history of church burnings. And, these acts are meant to intimidate, exclude, and control Black people who often use churches for fellowship, activism, and social action. By setting Black churches ablaze, racists are sending the same message they sent decades ago: “You are not one of us. Stay in your place.” This isn’t random. It never has been. Frankly, our inability to face that is yet another reason why it continues to happen.

Twitter has been reacting to these events for the past few weeks using the hashtag #WhoIsBurningBlackChurches?





The general sentiment here is that these acts are likely due to terror and racism and the place where they intersect. So, it goes without saying that rooting out the actors behind these events is extremely important. But there is more to it than that. While the initial question is important, it is also vital that we ask: when is America going to care? And, when are we going to do something about it?

Those questions remain unanswered. Sadly, until we at least try to address them, the church burnings will likely continue.


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Jenn M. Jackson

Jenn M. Jackson, PhD is a co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Water Cooler Convos. She is a native of Oakland, CA. Jenn is a radical Black feminist scholar who believes none of us are free until all of us are free.

7 Responses

  1. jrogowksi says:

    No consideration of the extensive evidence that none of the cases are racially motivated? 330 million Americans means a lot of churches, some of which occasionally burn down…

  2. Statistically speaking, it doesn’t seem odd that this many churches concentrated in the South would burn within just a few weeks of the Charleston Massacre? In areas with historical linkages to KKK activities? Like, let’s be logical here.

  3. disqus_6Ehjth661G says:

    Whether is is the norm or not..burning churches occupied by Blacks is juvenile, COWARDLY, and UNACCEPTABLE in 2015. How much longer are people going to accept this racial destruction from uneducated and ignorant White men? It further goes to set the truth that White men are dumb and ignorant. A President freed blacks back in the 60s, and from that time blacks have continued to go to school, get educated on the laws as it appeals to them all over this country. It IS NOT Blacks taking over this country it is everyone else not white coming into this country!
    It isn’t Blacks taking jobs from ignorant, uneducated, White men, it’s those men themselves who thought that being White would enable them to do whatever they thought they were entitled to because of their White skin. The Klan ISNT anyone else but ignorant, entitled White men all over America who have followed generations of men, fathers, grandfathers, uncles, or brothers steal land from American Indians; blacks who bought and tilled their own hard earned bought land in both north and south, wanted to, and stole from the goverment; acquire and use credit not pay cash, and have the audacity to dhoot and kill, mame others, just because of their jealousy of others who are coming into this country and buying the same with cash NOT credit.

    Oh btw, jrogowski, Do Your Research
    …330 church’s occasionally burn down? Sorry, NOT on their own. Kkk activities? Possibly, my suspicion, a bunch or poor White men living in the only places that accept being iliterate, poor, ignorant and uneducated, Southern states, and states where men are jealous of Blacks or any other race doing much better than themselves. I visit the South often on business. South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee surrounded by overgrowth, swamp, trees full of poisonous snakes, rattlers, cotton mouth, and others. Nothing in South Carolina getting better, Westinhouse and orher manufacturing plants gone. In 2015, it’s ridiculous.

  4. Your logic is based in a trust of White news media sources. This is an ailment I do not have.

  5. jrogowksi says:

    gosh, what unimpeachable “logic.” way to never be wrong.

  6. We disagree about what constitutes logic so it seems I could say the same to you. Thanks for reading though.

    And, please use this space to discuss the central thesis for future articles. We have a strict comment policy that prohibits ad hominem attacks, derailment, or other efforts to just be contrary. This is a safe space for marginalized voices not your those who seek to further silence those voices.