Greeleyville, SC- Mount Zion A-M-E Church in Greeleyville South Carolina is burning to the ground. The fire started late this evening as firefighters at the scene are working to put out the blaze.
Greeleyville, a town of about 375 people, is located in Williamsburg County, South Carolina, and is more than an hour away from Charleston, where the shooting at the Emanuel AME Church occurred. The fire comes about a week after Mount Zion A-M-E was featured in a Los Angeles Times story about the long history of violence against black churches and 20 years after it was burned to the ground by two former members of the KKK.
Officials have no idea whether or not this fire was started by arson but what is a stunning statistic, Mt. Zion is the 7th church to burn since nine people were killed at Emanuel A-M-E church in Charleston.
Three of the recent fires across the south in black churches are suspected arson. The Washington Post reported that arson is suspected in three of the six fires, adding the College Hill Seventh Day Adventist in Knoxville, Tennessee to the list, where hay bales and a church van were burned on June 21.
As for Mt. Zion, this is not the first time Mount Zion has burned down. In 1995 two men who claimed they were operating on behalf of the KKK burned Mt. Zion. The 1995 fire came during a rash of fires at black churches, with more than 70 reported between 1995 and 1996.
The church was rebuilt a year later, with President Bill Clinton speaking at the re-dedication.
Clinton gave the church a plaque that read, “We must come together as one America to rebuild our churches, restore hope, and show the forces of hatred they cannot win.”