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A Former Athenian on the Charleston Tragedy

Former Flagpole editor Richard Fausset reports in today’s New York Times from Charleston, SC, on the racially motivated massacre by a white gunman of nine African Americans attending a prayer service.

The force of racial conflict shaped this city’s commerce, inspired a slave revolt and sparked the gunshots that started the Civil War. And this week, on a balmy Wednesday evening, it claimed the lives of nine black churchgoers who had gathered to study the Bible.

Yet despite Charleston’s obsessive focus on how its past shapes its present, there was little clarity here, in these raw days after the massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, about how the next chapter in its history might play out.

Read the whole thing here.