AAA Editor Notes
Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church is at 110 Calhoun St. Founded in 1816 by African-American members of Charleston's Methodist Episcopal church, “Mother Emanuel” is the South's oldest AME church. The congregation's physical home has changed over the years due to external forces such as arson and natural disaster. Members also worshipped in secret 1834-65, when all-black churches were outlawed in the city.
On June 17, 2015, a mass shooting inside “Mother Emanuel” thrust the historic church into the national spotlight. President Barack Obama traveled to Charleston to deliver a eulogy for the victims, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, the church's senior pastor, a South Carolina state senator and 8 other church members. The shooting and its aftermath inspired the 2019 film, “Emanuel.”
The current church building, a brick Gothic Revival-style structure built in 1891, retains many well-preserved original features, including the altar, Communion rail, pews and light fixtures.