Police say someone spray-painted the message “Black Lives Matter” on a statue memorializing the Confederacy in Charleston several days after a shooting at a historic black church.
Police spokesman Charles Francis said city workers used a tarp to cover up the graffiti marking the stone pedestal beneath the statue. He said he didn’t know when the graffiti was spray-painted there, but said it would be cleaned off. He said police are investigating.
Photos on local news websites from before the tarp was put up show the phrase written in bright red paint, along with the message “THIS IS THE PROBLEM. #RACIST.”
The pedestal’s permanent inscription is “To the Confederate Defenders of Charleston.
St. Michael’s Episcopal, St. Philip’s Episcopal Church and the First Baptist Church organized buses to bring people from their Sunday worship to Emanuel. Members of other churches walked or drove.
St. Michael’s parishioner Lee Michael was one of those in attendance. He remarked that “racism is so anti-Christian it’s unbelievable.”
During services Sunday morning, pastors handed out prayer cards, one side blank for a handwritten prayer and the other stating that the churches “stand with Mother Emanuel.” As the congregations recited Psalm 23, “The Lord is my Shepherd,” by heart, the prayer cards were passed hand-to-hand to the front of the crowd. The cards were stapled, pinned and tapped to a wooden cross that St Michael’s had brought.