CHARLESTON, SC – Charleston city officials and members of Emanuel AME will officially name a portion of Calhoun Street the “Mother Emanuel Way Memorial District.”
One parishioner spoke about the meaning behind the memorial and said, “It’s moving very moving and touching at the same time. Now all will know what happened here.”
Abraham Richardson said, “I believe it’s history in the making.”
The reaction was different among the Emanuel AME members. Some smiled, others took pictures, and some even cheered as the Mother Emanuel Way Memorial District sign was moved to a place where all would be reminded of what happened here.
Reba Martin is an active member of Mother Emanuel and said the new district will forever honor the memory of the victims and survivors. “Our children, and our children’s children, and people from around the world will be able to come and know what happened here.” Martin continued, “I think it’s the perfect compromise because Calhoun is a historic street, and you wouldn’t want to change that or erase that.”
But some said watching this historical change in the city’s landscape does not ease the pain of what brought them here.
Reba’s teenage daughter, Zelena Martin, says she knew the nine people who were killed, and the survivors. Zelena told News 2, “I was especially close with Reverend Sharonda…I think they’re in a better place now. We will be ok.”
The dedication and blessing of the overhead sign across Calhoun Street will be held at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.
Smaller signs are already hanging over existing streets.
The city of Charleston has already installed many of the signs along Calhoun Street in between Meeting and Concord St. that say Mother Emanuel Way Memorial District.
Zelena explained, “It will automatically make you think of what happened. Even though it is sad what happened, but it reminds you of the good times you had.”
In addition to the Emanuel Way Memorial District, the city will establish an annual nine day observance beginning June 17th to remember the Emanuel nine.
Members of the community and church will plant one live oak tree on each of the nine days at nine separate locations throughout the city.