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Charlotte Talks: Four Years After Mother Emanuel Massacre, Chronicling Its 'Complicated' Aftermath

Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston

Monday, June 10, 2019

As the four-year anniversary of Charleston's Mother Emanuel shooting approaches, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who covered the tragedy examines its aftermath in a new book that's being called the definitive account of one of the darkest events in Charleston's modern history. What has - and hasn't - changed in the years since the shooting?

When Dylann Roof appeared in public for the first time in a July 2015 court hearing for the massacre that killed nine people, there were expressions of forgiveness from the families of some of the victims.

It's a moment that shaped a media narrative about the tragedy, but Jennifer Berry Hawes, a reporter for Charleston's Post and Courier, says the story is "much more complicated."

Although the forgiveness of a few was "beautiful and inspiring, [it] also took some of the wind from the sails of really pressing for meaningful changes that would address racism and racial disparities here," Hawes said.

Hawes, who won a Pulitzer Prize for The Post and Courier's 2015 reporting on domestic violence deaths in South Carolina, explores the ripple effects of the tragedy, from family and church rifts, to the racial obstacles still in place.


Jennifer Berry Hawes, special projects writer, The (Charleston) Post and Courier; author, Grace Will Lead Us Home: The Charleston Church Massacre and the Hard, Inspiring Journey to Forgiveness (@JenBerryHawes)

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