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Closing the Historical Circle: White Terrorism at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church


Closing the Historical Circle: White Terrorism at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church

Ajamu Baraka

“…It is time for you and me now to let the world know how peaceful we are, how well-meaning we are, how law-abiding we wish to be. But at the same time we have to let the same world know we’ll blow their world sky-high if we’re not respected and recognized and treated the same as other human beings are treated.” —Malcolm X


Brilliant analysis.

These are, in my view, the two most important aspects of this article:

“Obama and the ruling class in the U.S. are not concerned with violence. Obama just wants to make sure that the violence is state-sanctioned. While he moralizes about gun violence and the availability of weapons, he continues to allow massive military arms to be passed from the federal government to police forces through the government’s 1033 program. And the fact that the U.S. is the biggest arms merchant in the world is information that Obama will never share with the public.”


"While it is easy for everyone to condemn and even pathologize Roof for his views, an honest assessment of the racialized discourse used to mobilize public support for U.S. military interventions would reveal an ideological consistency between Roof’s fear and loathing of the non-European “other” and the messages conveyed in recruitment posters for the U.S. military that depict soldiers waging war in far-off places to protect our freedoms in the United States. Military propagandists know that the representation of the “non-white other” informs the imagination of most Americans when they think of foreign threats to the “homeland.”


During the heyday of the British Empire, the Victorian/Edwardian bourgeois sat in his beautiful home reading the Times of London. As he sipped on the tea (cultivated on plantations in India and Ceylon), he would read the latest headlines about colonial expeditions against “the savages.” The British were everywhere–killing, burning, plundering, oppressing; and yet somehow it was always their victims who were the “savages,” the uncivilized subhumans prone to violence. The Victorian bourgeois was the most violent person on earth, but he had made the world in such a way that his violence was performed by others and it took place thousands of miles from his home. He naturally thought of himself as a peaceful Christian, who was far above murder and mayhem.

Too many Americans are similarly deluded about their social existence. They pretend not to see the massive violence visited upon the world by United States military forces. They claim innocence of the Empire. But they must know that the violence in American society is truly astounding. Mayhem, massacre, murder, suicide–the United States is far out in the lead in all these areas in what they like to call “the developed world.” Life is cheap in the United States. No right to health care, no right to dignity, no right to a decent life. A social darwinist experiment now run amok. The future looks ominous…


This is brilliant. Props to Ajamu Baraka, again to Black Agenda Report, and to Common Dreams for continuing to republish BAR analyses.

Absolutely brilliant weaving of history, the Emanuel First AME Church, Denmark Vesey, the USA, the racialization of violence and the colonial history of racialized violence, the words of Malcolm X and the uses to which ML King’s words are put…

Time for the white settler community to account for history.


Excellent as always. The only article I have read about Charleston that considers the big picture rather than the narrow trivia.