Triumph over tragedy: Students visit African Methodist Episcopal Church

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The exterior of the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (Photos by Takia Black)

Takia Black, Staff Writer

While Black History Month is a celebration of the rich, vibrant culture that makes up so much of America, it is also a reminder of centuries of injustice and oppression— things that are still seen even in today’s society.

On Sunday, Armstrong students were able to visit one of the oldest Southern churches, the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (EAME), a Charleston church that has suffered greatly from racial hatred.

For those who don’t remember, EAME was the site of a vicious terrorist attack carried out by Dylann Roof, who shot and killed nine people.  Despite this tragedy, the congregation has remained resilient.  

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Emmanuel African Methodist Church’s congregation remains as strong as ever, as they enjoy service on Sunday


Nicknamed Mother Emanuel, the church has one of the largest and oldest black congregations south of Baltimore. The service gave students the opportunity to witness  and experience tributes from Armstrong’s Anointed Voices Gospel Choir, as well as other choirs, featuring songs like “What if God Was Unhappy” and “Open My Mouth to the Lord.”

Students also had the opportunity to explore the historic Charleston city Market area.

“It was a nice experience,” said biology major Tyra Smith. “It was so fun and I’ve never been to Charleston before. To be honest, I felt safe going to church.”

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A mural scene found during the Emmanuel African Methodist trip. Sunday, Feb. 21, 2016

Kwame Phillips, Coordinator of Multicultural Affairs, made a point to discuss why students visited the church, saying “We thought it was important to visit this historical site. Particularly, Mother Emanuel, especially considering its recent tragedy. To see the strength of the church is amazing and it was so powerful.”