Letter from the President
Dear Students, Educators and Friends,
This edition of the South Carolina African-American History Calendar is different from any of its 26 predecessors. Rather than telling the stories of individuals who have impacted our state in separate ways, the 2017 edition highlights 14 people forever bound together by a single, horrific event.
On June 17, 2015, a quiet Bible study at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston was shattered by gunfire that claimed the lives of nine men and women. Five others survived. It was a heinous, hate-filed attack that shook the entire state and challenged all of us to seriously examine the question of what it means to be South Carolinians today. But from this act came examples of grace, mercy, dignity and leadership which won the nation’s admiration and began to bring us together in new, long-overdue ways.
In the following pages, you will find individual profiles of the nine who lost their lives that day. The articles for the other months highlight the survivors, Mother Emanuel Church, and how our state responded to the tragedy.
The sweetgrass roses on the cover have become one of the many symbols of the lives lost in the tragedy. The roses, made in Charleston by skilled craftsmen and women for at least 150 years, were left as memorials at the church and can be seen in photos and images at the church today.
Like its predecessors, the 2017 African American History Calendar is intended as an educational resource, a tool to assist the State Department of Education in meeting the statutory requirement to include African American history in the curriculum.
AT&T and our community partners are privileged to honor these men and women and to help preserve their memories and stories for future generations. It is our hope that this project will further the spirit of reconciliation and inclusion which was unintentionally sparked by one despicable act.
Thank you for all you do to help make South Carolina a place which we, and our descendants, are pleased to call home.
Pamela P. Lackey
AT&T – South Carolina