In Charleston, students writing the history of the Emanuel AME shooting talk about the events every single day. From compiling news articles to monitoring presidential candidates and political reaction, students examine every aspect of the historical significance of the shootings while trying to understand the facts of the tragedy.
At Burke High School, Kara Keale’s AP U.S. History Class has made an ongoing project of documenting all aspects of the tragedy, which occurred less than two miles from the school. They are putting the shooting in context with the scope of the history of race and civil rights and being sensitive to the personal losses in their school community, as many had family members inside the church the evening that Dylan Roof quietly entered with a pistol concealed in a fanny pack.
“That place will be as pivotal as a Birmingham, as Montgomery, as Selma,” said Michael Allen, a community partnership specialist for the National Park Service. “This is a defining point in our American landscape.”
Students in Keale’s classroom are questioned daily on current events. The Emanuel shooting is a frequent daily topic.
“We talk about Walter Scott almost every single day,” said Keale. “Because it’s the world in which they live and it frames every conversation they have. Whether we’re talking about the progressive movement or antebellum South Carolina, it always come back to how does this impact your life today?”