Jennifer Pinckney says New Mural Captures Late Husband, Rev. Clementa Pinckney’s Spirit

Jennifer Pinckney speaks beside an image of her late husband, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, one of the victims of the shootings at Charleston's Emanuel AME Church, during the unveiling of the mural on a building a few blocks from the sanctuary on Friday, May 13, 2016. The mural was created by artist Tripp Derrick Barnes to honor the nine shooting victims as the first anniversary of the June 2015 slayings approaches. (AP Photo/Bruce Smith)
Jennifer Pinckney speaks beside an image of her late husband, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, one of the victims of the shootings at Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church, during the unveiling of the mural on a building a few blocks from the sanctuary on Friday, May 13, 2016. The mural was created by artist Tripp Derrick Barnes to honor the nine shooting victims as the first anniversary of the June 2015 slayings approaches. (AP Photo/Bruce Smith)

The widow of the pastor gunned down with eight of his parishioners at Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church last year sees the spirit of her late husband, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, in a new mural honoring the victims. 

The mural by artist Tripp Derrick Barnes, unveiled Friday on a building a few blocks from the sanctuary, shows Pinckney against a background of rainbow colors. At one end is a palmetto tree with nine doves ascending into the sky, an image that has come to represent the victims of the June 17, 2015, shooting.

Pinckney, who was also a South Carolina state senator, was “a humble, God-fearing man,” Jennifer Pinckney told about three dozen people on hand for the mural’s unveiling on the side of a building that houses a nonprofit art center.

“What he was all about was bringing people together,” she said. “This mural brings the colors of all people together.”

The mural also enshrines a quote from her husband.

“Across the South we have a deep appreciation of our history,” it says. “We haven’t always had a deep appreciation of each other’s history.”

Dylann Roof, 22, a white man, faces nine counts of murder in state court and dozens of federal charges in the church shootings, which authorities have said was racially motivated. The state is seeking the death penalty in his state trial set for January. No date has yet been set for the federal trial and the Justice Department has not yet decided whether prosecutors will seek the death penalty.

Barnes said he wanted to complete the mural as the anniversary of the shootings approached.

The South Carolina native who has created celebrity portraits for Susan Sarandon, Matthew McConaughey and New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees, among others, donated his time over the past two weeks to create the mural.

He was joined by more than a dozen other local artists who also donated time while it was being painted.

“This is not about me,” Barnes said. “It’s about Charleston. It’s about community. It’s about the other artists involved. It’s about the Pinckneys. It’s about everyone.”

The work was done at night so that the artists could see the mural’s outline, which was projected onto the wall to keep the final work in scale. The mural covers about 1,700 square feet. Barnes said it is the largest project he has ever done.

Prosecutor takes issue with racist label

The prosecutor in two upcoming high-profile South Carolina murder cases says she has a “huge problem” with being called a racist and says it’s immoral to select jurors based on race.

The Post and Courier of Charleston reports that Charleston-area prosecutor Scarlett Wilson testified Thursday in a hearing for William Dickerson Jr., a black man convicted in a 2006 slaying.

Dickerson’s attorneys said Wilson is seven times more likely to remove blacks from a jury than whites. Wilson testified the analysis looked only at race and not other factors.

In coming months Wilson will prosecute Michael Slager in the shooting death of an unarmed black motorist and Dylann Roof in the Charleston church shootings. Both Slager and Roof are white.

The Dickerson hearing is expected to last several days.

Literacy foundation named after victim

A literacy foundation has been formed in honor of one of the victims of the Charleston church shootings who worked as a librarian more than 30 years.

Local media outlets report the Cynthia Graham Hurd Foundation for Reading & Civic Engagement will work to encourage reading, especially among children from low-income families.

Hurd was a longtime employee of the Charleston County Public Library System and was one of the nine victims of the Emanuel AME Church shootings last June.

Organizers say about 80 percent of fourth-graders from low-income families in South Carolina cannot read at grade level and part of the reason is they don’t have books.

The foundation’s first effort will be a book drive to collect books in both Charleston and in Charlotte, North Carolina, next month.

Source: The AP