On Tuesday, Mt. Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church in Greeleyville, only 60 miles away from Charleston was burned. No one was injured.
The same church was burned to the ground in 1995, 20 years ago, by men connected to the Ku Klux Klan.
According to L.A. Times, officials said two Black churches were targeted by arsonists in Knoxville, Tenn., where a van burned and in Charlotte, N.C., where a church was destroyed.
No suspects or arrests have been made.
More Black churches were burned in Macon, GA and Warrenville, S.C. Authorities claim there’s no evidence of criminal activity in those burnings.
A total of six Black churches have been burned since the Charleston shooting. As of now, none of the church burnings have been officially labeled hate crimes.
The series of Black church burnings came after the NAACP warned Black churches throughout the country to take “necessary precautions” while police investigate if the church fires are arsons. The hashtag, #WhoIsBurningBlackChurches began trending on Twitter. Only hours after the NAACP’s warning was announced, Greeleyville’s Mt. Zion A.M.E. was torched.
The National Church Arson Task Force, which includes the FBI, ATF, U.S. attorneys and additional federal and state law enforcement, launched in response to the dramatic increase of Black church arsons in the South in the mid-1990s, reports the Times.
The force investigated a startling 827 arsons, bombings and attempted bombings between 1995 and 1999 at religious buildings, including schools and funeral parlors.
Federal authorities suspect lightening may be the cause of Mt.Zion’s fire. Stay locked for updates here.
Photo Credit: Veasey Conway/AP