My good friend the Rev. Joseph Darby writes that a memorial to the Mother Emanuel Nine should not be placed on Marion Square because it also is the site of the statue of John C. Calhoun, one of the original voices for secession.
Secession, of course, ultimately led to the Civil War. And that, of course, ultimately led to the Emancipation Proclamation, which ended slavery in the Union-controlled territory in the secessionist states, and then the 13th Amendment, which ended slavery everywhere in the United States. I believe Rev. Darby and I totally agree that the Lord does indeed work in mysterious ways.
More importantly, Marion Square was named for Francis Marion, a heroic military leader during the Revolutionary War against England, which began with the Declaration of Independence (five days after Gen. William Moultrie successfully defended his palmetto fort on Sullivan’s Island).
And even more important, on the southeast corner of Marion Square, the edge closest to Mother Emanuel AME Church, is a memorial to victims of the Holocaust, those six million Jews murdered by Jew-hating Nazi Germany leader Adolph Hitler. What more fitting place for a memorial to the victims of the racial hatred of the killer of the Mother Emanuel Nine.
Annually, there is a ceremony preceded by a memorial service and march to Marion Square as part of what is known as Yom Shoah — a solemn remembrance of the victims of the Holocaust, some of them members of my immigrant father’s family.
I believe a nearby plot on Marion Square would be an ideal location for a memorial to the nine victims of the hate crime at Mother Emanuel, with its own annual program of remembrance. Upon reflection, Rev. Darby may want to reconsider.