aNewDomain — Dylann Roof, 21, appeared in Charleston court on Friday to face murder charges for gunning down nine African Americans at a Wednesday night Bible study in a Charleston church. Roof was arrested Thursday 240 miles north of Charleston due to actions of an alert citizen who spotted Roof’s car and contacted police. A video has confirmed his presence at the church minutes before the shooting.
As the racism infographic below shows, Wednesday night’s shooting is one sad drop in an old bloody bucket.
Black churches, including ones in South Carolina, have been hate crime targets throughout U.S. history. Police are treating the killings at the African-American church on Wednesday night as a hate crime. Further, the Justice Department says it is investigating whether this latest incident qualifies as an act of domestic terrorism.
“It’s an obvious hate crime by someone who feels threatened by our country’s changing demographics and the increasing prominence of African Americans in public life,” according to Richard Cohen, executive director of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The SPLC is a nonprofit legal advocacy organization specializing in civil rights and public interest litigation.
The SPLC is known for its legal victories against white supremacist groups, its legal representation for victims of hate groups, its classification of militias and extremist organizations and its educational programs that promote tolerance.
Since 2000, the SPLC has seen an increase in the number of hate groups in our country. Such groups vilify others on the basis of characteristics such as race or ethnicity, said Cohen. The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hate Map tracks nearly 800 hate groups nationwide on a state-by-state basis.
For an overview of the history of race relations in America, take a look at this animated infographic from Carlos KDiPo, via Plexy.
Race Infographic: African American History, The Race Unit animated infographic: via Prezi
For aNewDomain, I’m Tom Ewing.
Image credit: Birth of a Nation still from Wikimedia Commons (Image in the Public Domain)