Thursday, January 3, 2019

We Are Charleston: trio reflects on mass shooting at Mother Emanuel Church in first 2019 Sunset Series event

We Are Charleston authors Dr. Bernard E. Powers Jr.,
Marjory Wentworth and Herb Frazier.
ASHEBORO -- On the night of June 17, 2015, a 21-year-old white supremacist shot and killed nine African-American churchgoers and wounded five others during a prayer meeting at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

A year later, a journalist, a historian and a poet, all with deep ties to the city, published We Are Charleston: Tragedy and Triumph at Mother Emanuel. The three — Herb Frazier, Dr. Bernard E. Powers Jr. and Marjory Wentworth —will share their thoughts and reflections in the first installment of the 2019 Friends of the Library Sunset Signature Series at 7 p.m. Saturday, January 26, in downtown Asheboro’s historic Sunset Theatre.

The event, sponsored by the Heart of North Carolina Visitors Bureau, the City of Asheboro and the Friends of the Randolph County Public Library, is free and the public is invited.

Frazier has edited and reported for five daily newspapers in the South, including the Post and Courier in Charleston, his hometown. He currently serves as marketing and public relations manager for Magnolia Plantation and Gardens near Charleston.

Powers is a history professor at the College of Charleston, where he teaches United States and African American history. He has appeared in productions for PBS including The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross and Slavery and the Making of America.

Wentworth is Poet Laureate of South Carolina. A  five-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize in poetry, she is author of five collections of poetry and the acclaimed children’s book Shackles.

We Are Charleston explores not only the shooting, its aftermath and its ramifications, but also the history of slavery and racism in Charleston, and the importance of the AME denominational movement in the fight for freedom and civil rights. The book also delves into the impact of the shooting on the loved ones of those killed and wounded, focusing on the nature of forgiveness and the religious mandate to forgive — a fraught subject in the face of the evil acts of the young murderer.

Also slated for the 2019 Signature Series:
  • Musician Jim Avett, 7 p.m. Friday, March 15;
  • Author Jerry Bledsoe, 7 p.m. Thursday, May 2;
  • UNC basketball titan Eric Montross, 7 p.m. Saturday, September 21.