I know the death of the four girls:
Addie Mae Collins,
Carol Denise McNair,
killed as a result of the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church
in Birmingham, Alabama
on September 15, 1963,
only as history.
But the murders of the nine adults:
Reverend Clementa Pinckney,
Reverend Sharonda Singleton,
Dr. Daniel L. Simmons,
Mrs. Ethel Lee Lance,
Mrs. Cynthia Hurd,
Ms. Myra Thompson,
Mrs. Susie Jackson,
Reverend DePayne Middleton-Doctor,
Mr. Tywanza Sanders,
murdered on Wednesday, June 17, 2015,
in the Emanuel AME Church,
in Charleston, South Carolina,
almost 52 years later
by the same weapons –
this is not history to me.
And their murders ushered in unexpected levels of grief
which seem to grow with each passing day.
For the spouses and children.
Siblings and grandparents.
Uncles and aunts.
All whose lives have been unequivocally changed.
Including my own.
“We have come,” wrote James Weldon Johnson,
“over a way that with tears has been watered,”
“We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered.”
Oh, God, why are we are still on this path more than half a century later?
“God, of our weary years,
God of our silent tears
Thou Who has brought us thus far on the way,”
Give us grace.
Give us strength.
Give us unwavering courage and resolve
to eradicate racism and prejudice from our own hearts.
And be instruments of Your peace, justice, and reconciliation in our broken world.
© E. Wright 2015