Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church, a historic Black church in South Carolina, was the seventh to be torched by flames since the June 17 Mother Emanuel AME church shooting tragedy. As local and federal investigators ponder the rash of church fires across the Deep South, the burning of Mout Zion AME Tuesday night (Jun. 30) served as an ugly reminder of days past.
The Washington Post reported on the Mount Zion blaze, which took place in the town of Greeleyville just north of Charleston. According to an earlier Associated Press report, the fire is not being considered the handiwork of an arsonist.
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“It’s gone,” local state senator Cezar McKnight told the Charleston Post and Courier, as he watched smoke billow from the roof of the Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church, a modest congregation in the tiny town of Greeleyville. “They don’t know the cause yet, but I am hoping for the best.
The predominantly African American congregation is more than 100 years old. Their church building had previously been burned to the ground in June 1995, almost exactly 20 years before Tuesday’s blaze.
Back in 1995, Mount Zion AME was among several Black churches in the South that were set on fire, by members of the Ku Klux Klan. President Bill Clinton publicly urged racial harmony and blasted the arsonists for their actions.
ATF agents were reportedly on the scene to discover the actual origins of the blaze.
Watch a video report of the Mount Zion AME fire from CNN below.