29 Jun 2015

6 Black Churches burnt in US in 7 days (PHOTOS)

A string of black churches have been ravaged by fire in the past week, in what could potentially be a string of racially-motivated arson attacks.

Places of worship in Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Ohio were ravaged by flames this week.


Authorities have confirmed that three of the attacks were arson, while investigations are still underway for the remaining two.

The attacks come as national attention centers on racial divisions in the wake of the church massacre in Charleston, South Carolina, where nine people were gunned down by Dylann Roof.

The College Hills Seventh Day Adventist Church in Knoxville was attacked Monday.

Church sources told WTLV that hay bales were heaped up by a church entrance then set alight, eventually engulfing the building.

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, God’s Power Church of Christ in Macon, Georgia, was also set ablaze.

Authorities told the Macon Telegraph the attack has the hallmarks of arson - though tests are still being carried out to discover how the fire stared.

In Charlotte, North Carolina, the Briar Creek Road Baptist Church started burning around 1am Wednesday.

Fire authorities are sure that blaze was arson as well, though they have not revealed their evidence.

Despite the huge damage to the building, congregants had returned by Sunday to worship at the site.

Also on Wednesday, the Fruitland Presbyterian Church in Gibson County, Tennessee, caught fire. According to local news station WBBJ, fire investigators there are keeping open the possibility of arson.

Friday morning saw the Glover Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Warrenville, South Carolina, catch fire as well.

Authorities there have yet to announce whether the fire was arson.

The College Heights Baptist Church in Elyria, Ohio, also caught fire Saturday, and authorities are still investigating.

The Lorain Morning Journal reported that churchgoers held hands and prayed in the building's parking lot on Sunday while the building was unusable.

A seventh church, the Greater Miracle Temple in Tallahassee, Florida, also caught fire on Friday.

The attacks were commented upon by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Their Hatewatch blog said the fires 'may not be a coincidence'.

Attacking black churches has traditional been a tactic of white supremacists for centuries.

At a passionate eulogy on Friday for one of the victims of the Charleston massacre, President Barack Obama drew an explicit link between arson and racial oppression.

He said that Roof, who espoused white supremacist views online, 'surely sensed the meaning of his violent act'.

'It was an act that drew on a long history of bombs and arson and shots fired at churches, not random, but as a means of control, a way to terrorize and oppress.'  
Briar Creek Road Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, which started burning Wednesday around 1am

Interior of Briar Creek Road later Wednesday, after the blaze had died down

Remains of the Glover Grove Baptist Church in Warrenville, South Carolina, which caught fire on Friday

Fruitland Presbyterian Church in Gibson County, Tennessee, which caught fire on Wednesday

God's Power Church of Christ in Macon, Georgia

College Heights Baptist Church in Elyria, Ohio
Credit: Daily Mail

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