Again? Historic black church in South Carolina gutted by fire 20 years after KKK burned it down
A historic African-American church in South Carolina was torn apart by a fire Tuesday night, 20 years after being burned down by the Ku Klux Klan, The Washington Post reported.
Fire crews were dispatched to the Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church in Greeleyville. It is the seventh church to catch on fire in the wake of the mass shooting attack inside the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in nearby Charleston earlier this month. Three of those fires have been attributed to arson.
“South Carolina has been through a lot the last two weeks and weve made the best of a terrible situation,” state Rep. Cezar McKnight told the Charleston Post & Courier. “I would hate for this to be something somebody did on purpose to try to poison the love and fellowship.”
Investigators have not determined the cause of Tuesday night’s blaze at Mt. Zion, which was founded more than 110 years ago. The Post reported that besides crews from Clarendon and Williamson County, officials from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — which is investigating the five prior fires — are at the scene.
As Think Progress reported, images from the scene quickly went online:
— Melissa Boughton (@mboughtonPC) July 1, 2015
Mt Zion AME Church is on fire in SC. This is 7th black church fire in last 2 weeks. Where is the outrage? pic.twitter.com/Ar1uNoTmUu
— Linsey Davis (@LinseyDavis) July 1, 2015
The blaze erupted 20 years and 10 days after Mt. Zion was burned down as part of a rash of attacks against African-American churches in the South in 1995. Less than a year later, then-President Bill Clinton called for racial unity during an appearance marking the church being rebuilt.
“Every house of worship in America must be a sacred place,” Clinton said at the time.
Watch a report on the fire, as aired on WCIV-TV on Tuesday, below.