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Charleston Shooter Almost Did Not Go Through With Shooting; 150 Years Later Juneteenth Is An American Holiday

Olina Ortega, left, and Austin Gibbs light candles at a sidewalk memorial in front of Emanuel AME Church where people were killed by a white gunman Wednesday during a prayer meeting inside the historic black church in Charleston, S.C., Thursday, June 18, 2015.

CREDIT: AP/David Goldman.

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Charleston Shooter Almost Did Not Go Through With Shooting. Dylann Roof, initiator of the Mother Emanuel AME Church massacre, told police officials he “almost didn’t go through with it because everyone was so nice to him.” Roof, 21, sat in on the Wednesday bible study for nearly an hour before he opened fire, killing nine people including pastor and South Carolina State Senator Clementa Pinckney. When questioned about his motives, Roof stated ‘you (Black people) rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.” Roof was arrested in Shelby, North Carolina on Thursday morning. On Friday, he was charged with 9 counts of murder and possession of a firearm. Bond was set at $1 million. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has state publicly that prosecutors should seek the death penalty. [NBC News]

150 Years Later: Juneteenth Is an American Holiday. June 19 marked the 150th anniversary of the official abolition of slavery in Texas. Texas was the first state in the Union to establish Juneteenth as a holiday in 1980. As of May 2014, 43 of the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have recognized Juneteenth as either a state holiday or a day of observance. The general connotation behind Juneteenth is that it is a “Black holiday,” but as Kenneth C. Davis wrote in the New York Times, “that perception unfairly diminishes the fundamental significance of Juneteenth. The day should be recognized for what it is: a shared point of pride in the symbolic end of centuries of racial slavery — a crime against humanity and the great stain on America’s soul. Juneteenth completes the circle, reaffirming ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” as the rights of all, not a select few.’ [New York Times]

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