Emanuel AME Church has found a way to display some of the more than 6,000 tributes that were mailed, left and displayed in the wake of the 2015 mass shooting.
And it's just across the street.
The church's foundation plans to purchase the house at 113 Calhoun St. to exhibit the artwork, quilts and other tangible artifacts that people across the world sent to show love and support for victims and the church after the hate-inspired murders.
Charleston City Council voted recently to give the Historic Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church Foundation the exclusive option to purchase the property for $100. The decision still needs final approval, and the deal might not close for a few years.
The house was renovated years ago to demonstrate sustainable development techniques, and it currently houses the offices for the planned International African-American Museum and the Honorable Reverend Clementa C. Pinckney Foundation, named after the pastor killed in the tragedy.
When those leases expire around 2021 or earlier, the Emanuel Foundation would purchase the site, according to the Rev. Dr. Eric Manning, pastor of Emanuel.
Manning hopes 113 Calhoun eventually will be a place where people can see tangible illustrations of how the world expressed grief, heartache and pain alongside a mourning congregation.
“We are excited for the opportunities to display," Manning said. "We thank God for his favor and the city for sharing with us.”
Manning envisions the site would relate to the proposed memorial courtyard scheduled to be built beside the church.
The recently unveiled plans for the courtyard memorial show two curving, elliptical walls in a garden that commemorates the victims and survivors.
After the shooting that left nine worshippers dead, thousands of people from across the world laid candles, crosses, rosary beads and teddy bears outside the front of the church to express support and sympathy. Some mailed the church quilts and banners covered in Scriptures and prayers.
Others sent paintings that emphasized unity, like the one in Manning's office of a black dove and white dove flying together near Mother Emanuel.
Since the tragedy, the artifacts have been kept in storage after a group of church members, historians and preservationists carefully collected and cataloged the items.
A handful of them already have been publicly displayed in temporary exhibits in the past three years, but the site at 113 Calhoun would be a permanent setting.
George McDaniel, the former executive director at Drayton Hall who was part of a group of local historians and archivists that helped the church care for the items, said one artifact stands out in particular.
He vividly remembers a quilt stained with communion juice sent from a Methodist church in Dallas. Instead of removing the stain, they let it serve as a reminder of the faith that binds the congregations together.
"I don't know you. You don't know me. But we both know Jesus," the church's pastor wrote on the quilt. "That gives me hope."