Charleston may approve funding for Emanuel 9 memorial

Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 4:50 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 13, 2022 at 6:51 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston City Council is considering providing additional money to help build a memorial to the nine parishioners of a downtown church who were gunned down seven years ago.

The memorial would honor the victims, who have come to be known as the Emanuel 9.

Council members are debating whether to provide an additional $2 million to the project that would include a survivors garden, contemplation basin and a courtyard.

The shooting happened on the night of June 17, 2015, at the conclusion of a Wednesday night Bible study at the church. It claimed the lives of the church’s pastor, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, and eight of his parishioners. Those victims were Cynthia Graham Hurd, 54; Ethel Lance, 70; the Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, 49; Tywanza Sanders, 26; the Rev. Daniel Simmons, 74; the Rev. Sharonda Singleton, 45; Myra Thompson, 59; and Susie Jackson, 87.

Dylann Roof was convicted of the shootings and was sentenced to death. He remains in custody at a federal prison.

Mayor John Tecklenburg said the extra money will allow the Emanuel Nine Memorial Foundation to start preordering the materials they need to start construction.

Mother Emanuel Pastor Eric Manning said they have set a goal of raising $20 million for the memorial.

They plan to raise the remaining money through private donations, crowdsourcing and potentially naming the fellowship benches, names basin and the contemplation basin.

The mayor says the memorial is being designed by the same architect who brought the World Trade Center Memorial to life.

“To continue this honor to tell this story, and it will open this space up to the public as really an everlasting to those who not only gave their lives but to those who express that love and compassion and forgiveness that, I think, is just an incredible message for our world today,” Tecklenburg said.

The money still needs to pass through full council before it can be donated to the foundation.

Manning said he hopes to break ground either late this year or early next year.