The Memorial History
The inspiration for the memorial design is drawn from remembering the lives and sacrifices of the Emanuel Nine: Reverend Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Mrs. Cynthia Graham Hurd, Mrs. Susie J. Jackson, Mrs. Ethel Lee Lance, Reverend DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Reverend Clementa Pinckney, Tywanza Kibwe Diop Sanders, Reverend Daniel Lee Simmons, Sr., and Mrs. Myra Singleton Quarles Thompson.
The memorial design reflects the powerful and inspiring way in which the Emanuel Nine family members summoned their faith to reverse the spread of hate with a message of unyielding love and forgiveness.
As Michael Arad, the memorial designer, began to create the design, he gathered with the families of the victims, survivors, and members of the congregation to hear their stories. During his visits to Charleston, Arad developed a connection to the members of Mother Emanuel as he listened to their remembrances of the family members and friends they had lost. In their stories, Arad found inspiration, and the Memorial began to take shape.
The Emanuel Nine Memorial design draws the grounds of the church into this larger context, inviting “a dialogue between visitor and place, its past and present,” architect Michael Arad explains.
Family members of the Emanuel Nine say they hope the Memorial will bring people together to resolve their differences, reverse hate, end gun violence, and work toward justice with resolute love and compassion.