Black Church Set Ablaze In NC – Investigators Haven’t Ruled Out Hate Crime (TWEETS)

In the early morning hours on Wednesday, 75 firefighters battled a three-alarm fire that has caused an estimated $250,000 in damage to a church in North Carolina.

The Briar Creek Baptist church in Charlotte was set ablaze in what authorities have said was arson. Charlotte officials are reviewing the possibility of the arson being a hate crime. The fact that the majority of the 100 member congregation is African-American and that the church shares the campus with a few “immigrant churches” is causing investigators to consider that hate may have been the motive – especially when this arson comes only one week after the mass shooting that took place at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

The fire was reported to 911 by a resident in a nearby apartment complex around 1 a.m. “The Baptist church on Briar Creek Road right before Central, it’s on fire,” the caller told dispatchers. “It’s really big.”

Two firefighters were treated for heat-related injuries. It is believed that no one was in the church at the time of the fire.

The history of Briar Creek Baptist indicates that in 1951, when it was started, and for nearly three decades after, the church congregation was predominantly white. However, as the neighborhood’s demographics changed, so did the congregation.

New York Magazine published a list of attacks (or planned attacks) against black churches in the last 25 years. Some were cross burnings, others were vandalism – but the majority were racially motivated church burnings which resulted in huge losses for each congregation.

Here are just a few highlighted from New York Magazine. You can view the complete list here:

February, 1995 — Three men in Sumter County, Alabama, get drunk and take sledgehammers to the pews, windows, and kitchens of three black churches.

 January 8, 1996 — The Inner City Church in Knoxville, Tennessee, is hit with 18 Molotov cocktails in the middle of the night. Painted on the church’s back door were the words “Die N—– Die!” and “White Is Right.”

January 11, 1996 — Little Zion Baptist Church and Mount Zoar Baptist Church, two black churches within six miles of each other in rural Alabama, are turned to ashes on the same night.

June 7, 1996  — The Matthews-Murkland Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, North Caroline, is set on fire. It’s part of an 18-month long string of intentional fires set at southern black churches.

March 22, 1997 — Two men in Ferris, Texas, burn down the Macedonia Baptist Church “”cause it was a ni**er church.” 

June 30, 1997 — Five white men and women between the ages of 18 and 21 burn down a 21-member church in Little River, Alabama.

January 12, 2004 — Two white men break into a black church in Roanoke, Virginia, and cause $77,000 in damage.

November 4, 2008 — Hours after President Obama’s first inauguration, three white men in Springfield, Massachusetts, doused the partially constructed Macedonia Church of God in Christ in gas and set it ablaze.

December 28, 2010 — A white man attempting to “gain status” with a white-supremacist gang firebombs a black church in Crane, Texas.

Perhaps the most recent church burning wasn’t racially motivated. However, our nation has a long history of deranged individuals holding on to archaic views on race who do this sort of thing – so it’s difficult to not suspect race could have very well played a part in this destruction.

Still saying we don’t have an issue with racism in our country, right-wingers?

Featured image via Twitter/CharlotteFD