Memorial honoring victims of AME Church shooting receives $250k grant from Bank of America

A rendering of the planned fountain at the center of the memorial, bearing the names of those killed in the massacre at the Emanuel AME Church in 2015.
A rendering of the planned fountain at the center of the memorial, bearing the names of those killed in the massacre at the Emanuel AME Church in 2015. | (Rendering: Dbox for The Mother Emanuel Nine Memorial/Handel Architects)

The Bank of America has given a $250,000 grant toward the construction of a memorial to honor the nine African American parishioners at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church who were murdered by a white supremacist.

In the hopes of starting a race war, Dylann Roof entered the AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, on June 17, 2015, where he murdered nine people after joining their Bible study. 

The Mother Emanuel Memorial Foundation announced the grant on Monday, with the memorial construction project expected to cost around $10 million, The Associated Press reported.

The foundation has already raised, as of Monday, around $7 million. This includes an earlier grant of $500,000 from Wells Fargo and a pledge of $1 million from the Robert and Janice McNair Foundation.

The foundation has a website dedicated to raising money for the memorial, which will feature two large benches meant to resemble “sheltering wings” and a marble fountain that includes the names of those killed.

There will also be a “survivor’s garden” that will include stone benches and trees, serving as a place for prayer and contemplation.

“These spaces will be a place for the congregation and the community, encouraging people of all backgrounds and walks of life to come together to realize positive change, while also creating a space to reflect in quiet contemplation,” states the website.

Plans for the memorial were first announced in July 2018. The designs were done by Michael Arad, who created the National September 11 Memorial in New York City, the AP added.

Last October, The Post and Courier reported that the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division had opened an investigation into the church's alleged mishandling of donations meant to go directly to the victims' families. 

Althea Latham, a former secretary for the church who was fired two months after the massacre, claimed that she was let go for questioning how the donations were being used.

The church denied firing Latham, but told local media that she had been released after her contract with them was allowed to expire.

SLED spokesman Tommy Crosby announced in November 2019 that their investigation found “no evidence” of financial misconduct on the part of the church.   

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