It has been three years since a white supremacist opened fire and killed nine congregation members of the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C, and a new architectural design for a memorial has been unveiled.
The design by Michael Arad, who also co-designed the September 11 memorial in New York City, features two large and curving stone benches, a gentle fountain and a garden space.
“The Emanuel Nine Memorial” will honor the nine people who died when then-21-year-old Dylann Roof opened fire and unleashed more than 60 shots during a routine Wednesday night bible study session in 2015. Roof told the church members he targeted the historic Black church to seek vengeance for Blacks raping White women and taking over the country in hopes of starting a race war. Only three people survived.
The Charleston Post and Courier reports that Arad was selected for the project after he was asked to write essays about forgiveness and his approach to design. “I think that was very wise,” he told the publication. “For me to suggest what should be built here without any knowledge of who is involved and what their feelings are and what their hopes and aspirations are would be beyond presumptuous.”
The final design was unveiled Sunday as the capstone to the church’s 200th-anniversary events. If built, the memorial would transform the church grounds into a series of elaborately landscaped garden spaces. The fountain features the name of the nine people killed in the shooting: The Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Cynthia Graham Hurd, Susie J. Jackson, Ethel Lee Lance, the Rev. DePayne Vontrease Middleton Doctor, The Hon. Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Tywanza Kibwe Diop Sanders, the Rev. Daniel Lee Simmons Sr. and Myra Singleton Quarles Thompson.
According to the Architects Paper, a timeline to start construction on the Emanuel Nine Memorial has not been announced yet, but the church has set up a nonprofit to begin fundraising for the estimated $10 million project. You can read about the full project and the design purpose here.