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Kevin Sack
Unaffiliated independent scholar
Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina: 200 Years of African-American Life

Writing a history of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

I'm writing a book for Crown Publishing about the remarkable story of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., site of one of the nation's most horrific hate crimes. On a Wednesday night in June 2015, a 21-year-old white supremacist, Dylann Roof, murdered nine Bible study worshipers in the church fellowship hall with the delusion of inciting a race war. He had picked his target, the oldest A.M.E. church in the South, for maximum impact. Through extensive interviews and archival research, I plan to trace the church's history from its founding around 1818 in a bold breakaway from white churches to its central place in the second term of the first black president. The book's conceit is to examine two centuries of African-American life as an ongoing narrative that unfolds within a single congregation. Its ambition is to be an enduring case study, both scholarly and accessible, of the black church's role in resisting oppression at every stage of the freedom struggle.

Project fields:
African American History; History of Religion; U.S. Regional Studies

Public Scholars

Research Programs

$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2019 – 12/31/2019