List of attacks against African-American churches

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Attacks against African-American churches in the United States have taken the form of arson, bombings, mass murder, hate crimes, and white supremacist-propelled domestic terrorism. This timeline documents acts of violence against churches with predominantly black leadership and congregations.

19th Century[edit]

20th century[edit]

  • 1921 May 31 Black Wall Street Church, Bombed, Tulsa Oklahoma


  • 1956 December 25 Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, was bombed.
  • 1957 April 28 At Allen Temple African Methodist Episcopal Church in Bessemer, Alabama, dynamite exploded at the rear of the church during an evening service.
  • 1958 June 29 Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, was bombed again. This time, guards removed the bombs to a ditch; the blast blew out the windows, however.[2]


  • 1962 January 16 New Bethel Baptist Church, St Luke's African Methodist Episcopal Church, and Triumph Church Kingdom of God and Christ, all three in Birmingham, Alabama, were fire-bombed.
  • 1962 September 25 St. Matthew's Baptist Church of Macon, Georgia, was burned. "It is the fifth church to burn in a month."[3][4]
  • 1962 December 14 At Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, a third bomb blew out the church windows.
  • 1963 August 10 St. James United Methodist Church of Birmingham, Alabama, was destroyed by a "gasoline fire bomb."[2]
  • 1963 September 15 Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, was bombed during a Sunday church service. Twenty-two people were injured and four girls died.
  • 1964 June 16 Mount Zion Methodist Church in Longdale, Mississippi, was burned to the ground. An investigation by Mississippi civil rights workers led to the murders of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner.


  • 1972 (exact date unknown) Cartersville Baptist Church, in Reston, Virginia, was burned, causing the main church to fall into the basement.[5][6]
  • 1974 June 30 At Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, Alberta Williams King, mother of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Edward Boykin were killed by a man who had determined that "black ministers were a menace to black people." A third churchgoer was wounded.
  • 1977 December 18 Zoah Methodist Church, Mulberry Baptist in Wilkes County, Georgia; Mt. Zion Baptist Church and Antioch CME in Lincoln County, Georgia. Three teens were found guilty in the burning of 4 black churches in Wilkes and Lincoln counties.
  • 1979 December 16 Second Wilson Church of Chester, South Carolina, a meeting place for civil rights activists, was gutted by fire.



More than 30 black churches were burned in an 18-month period in 1995 and 1996, leading Congress to pass the Church Arson Prevention Act.[6]

  • 1993 April 5 Rocky Point Missionary Baptist Church in Pike County, Mississippi, was set on fire by three teenagers who served time.[7]
  • 1995 January 13 Johnson Grove Baptist Church in Bells, Tennessee, was burned.
  • 1995 January 13 Macedonia Baptist Church in Denmark, Tennessee, was burned.
  • 1995 January 31 Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Hardeman County, Tennessee, was burned.
  • 1995 June 21 Outside of Manning, South Carolina, four men affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan worked together to burn down Macedonia Baptist Church and Mt. Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church of Greeleyville, both majority black churches. Arrests were made. In 1998, Grand Dragon Horace King and four other Ku Klux Klansmen were forced to pay $37.8 million for their roles in a conspiracy to burn Macedonia Baptist Church.[8][9]
  • 1995 August 15 St. John Baptist Church in Lexington County, South Carolina, was burned and an arrest was made.
  • 1995 October 31 Mount Pisgah Baptist Church of Raeford, North Carolina, was burned.
  • 1995 December 22 Mount Zion Baptist Church of Boligee, Alabama, was burned.
  • 1995 December 30 Salem Baptist Church in Gibson County, Tennessee, was burned.
  • 1996 January 6 Ohovah African Methodist Episcopal Church of Orrum, North Carolina, was burned and an arrest was made.
  • 1996 January 8 Inner City Church of Knoxville, Tennessee, was burned.
  • 1996 January 11 Little Zion Baptist Church and Mount Zoar Baptist Church of Green County, Alabama, were both burned on the same day.
  • 1996 February 1 Cypress Grove Baptist Church, St. Paul's Free Baptist Church, and Thomas Chapel Benevolent Society of East Baton Rouge, Louisiana, were all burned on the same day.
  • 1996 February 1 Sweet Home Baptist Church in Baker, Louisiana, was burned.
  • 1996 February 21 Glorious Church of God in Christ of Richmond, Virginia, was burned.
  • 1996 February 28 New Liberty Baptist Church in Tyler, Alabama, was burned and an arrest was made.
  • 1996 March 5 St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church in Hatley, Mississippi, was burned.
  • 1996 March 20 New Mount Zion Baptist Church in Ruleville, Mississippi, was burned.
  • 1996 March 27 Gay's Hill Baptist Church of Millen, Georgia, was burned.
  • 1996 March 30 El Bethel Missionary Baptist Church of Satartia, Mississippi, was burned and an arrest was made.
  • 1996 March 31 Butler Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church of Orangeburg, South Carolina, was burned.[10]
  • 1996 April 11 St. Charles Baptist Church in Paincourtville, Louisiana, was burned.
  • 1996 April 13 Rosemary Baptist Church in Barnwell, South Carolina, was burned.
  • 1996 April 26 Effingham Baptist Church in Effingham, South Carolina, was burned.
  • 1996 May 14 Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Tigrett, Tennessee, was burned.
  • 1996 May 23 Mount Tabor Baptist Church in Cerro Gordo, North Carolina, was burned.
  • 1996 May 24 Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Lumberton, North Carolina, was burned.
  • 1996 June 3 Rising Star Baptist Church in Greensboro, Alabama, was burned.
  • 1996 June 7 Matthews Murkland Presbyterian Church sanctuary in Charlotte, North Carolina, was burned and an arrest was made.
  • 1996 June 9 New Light House of Prayer and The Church of the Living God, both of Greenville, Texas, were burned on the same day.
  • 1996 June 12 Evangelist Temple on Marianna, Florida, was burned.
  • 1996 June 13 First Missionary Baptist Church of Enid, Oklahoma, was burned and an arrest wamade.
  • 1996 June 17 Hills Chapel Baptist Church, Rocky Point, North Carolina, is burned.
  • 1996 June 17 Mount Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church and Central Grove Missionary Baptist Church, both of Kossuth, Mississippi, were burned on the same day.
  • 1996 June 20 Immanuel Christian Fellowship of Portland, Oregon, was burned.
  • 1996 June 24 New Birth Temple Church of Shreveport, Louisiana, was burned.

21st century[edit]


  • 2006 July 11 A cross was burned outside a predominantly black church in Richmond, Virginia[11]
  • 2008 November 5 Macedonia Church of God in Christ, in Springfield, Massachusetts, was burned out and an arrest was made.[12]
  • 2010 December 28 In Crane, Texas, the Faith in Christ Church was vandalized with "racist and threatening graffiti" and then firebombed by a man who was attempting to gain entry into the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas; an arrest was made and the perpetrator was found guilty and sentenced to 37 years in prison.[13]


  • 2014 November 24 Flood Christian Church in Ferguson, Missouri, was burned by arsonists during a series of protests over the police shooting of Michael Brown, Jr. Flood Christian is where Michael Brown Sr. was baptized. Some attributed the attack to the protests which burned several other buildings that night, while others said that the building was far from where protests took place and was more likely burned in retaliation for the comments its pastor had made regarding the release of the officer who had shot Michael Brown Jr.[14]
  • 2015 June 17 At Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, nine African Americans, including Clementa C. Pinckney, were shot and killed and a tenth was shot and survived in a mass attack by a white assailant named Dylann Roof. An arrest was made.
  • 2015 June 22 At College Hill Seventh Day Adventist, in Knoxville, Tennessee, a small fire was set, resulting in minimal damage to the church structure and destruction of the church van. The act was not classified as a hate crime.[15]
  • 2015 June 23 God's Power Church of Christ in Macon, Georgia, was gutted by a fire which was ruled arson.[16][17]
  • 2015 June 24 At Briar Creek Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, an unknown arsonist started a three-alarm fire, causing more than $250,000 in damages.[18]
  • 2016 November 1 The 111-year-old Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Greenville, Mississippi, was burned and vandalized with the words "Vote Trump" spray-painted onto the building. The arsonist has been identified as a black man who is a member of the church.[19]


  1. ^ McInnis, Maurie (June 19, 2015). "The First Attack on Charleston's AME Church." Slate. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Temple, Chanda; Jeff Hansen (2000-07-16). "Ministers' homes, churches among bomb targets". Alabama Media Group. Archived from the original on 2015-07-01. Retrieved 2015-06-30.
  3. ^ "History of Church Fires (photograph)". Washington Post. 1996-06-19.
  4. ^ "Georgia History Timeline / Chronology 1962". Our Georgia History. Retrieved 2015-06-30.
  5. ^ "Cartersville Baptist Church - Virginia Historical Markers on". Waymarking. Retrieved 2015-06-30.
  6. ^ a b Finley, Taryn (2015-06-23). "The Charleston Shooting Was At Least The 91st Violent Attack On A Black Church Since 1956". Huff Post Black Voices. Retrieved 2015-06-30.
  7. ^ Booth, William (1996-06-19). "In Church Fires, a Pattern but No Conspiracy". Washington Post. Retrieved 2015-06-27.
  8. ^ Southern Poverty Law Center (1998). "Jury Decision Against Ku Klux Klan Makes for Day of Reckoning" (91). Retrieved 2015-06-27.
  9. ^ ITVS. "Forgotten Fires: Synopsis". Archived from the original on 2016-05-13. Retrieved 2015-06-27.
  10. ^ Baltimore Sun (1997). "Group to aid rebuilding of S.C. church Carroll-based ministry to help black chapel burned by juveniles". Retrieved 2016-11-02.
  11. ^ "Hate Incidents". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 2015-06-27.
  12. ^ "Violent History: Attacks on Black Churches". New York Times. 2015-06-18. Retrieved 2015-06-27.
  13. ^ Forsyth, Jim (2011-11-30). "Texas man sentenced to 37 years for fire bombing church". Reuters. Retrieved 2015-06-27.
  14. ^
  15. ^ Rook, Brandon (2015-06-22). "Arson under investigation at African-American church in Knoxville". WATE. Retrieved 2015-06-27.
  16. ^ Davis, Claire, with Sheera Poelman, 13WMAZ Staff (2015-06-24). "Cause of Macon fire ruled "suspicious"". WMAZ. Retrieved 2015-06-29.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  17. ^ Bever, Lindsay (2015-06-29). "Six predominately black Southern churches burn within a week; arson suspected in at least three". Washington Post. Retrieved 2015-06-29.
  18. ^ Kaplan, Sarah (2015-06-25). "A black church in North Carolina was deliberately set ablaze, officials say". Washington Post. Retrieved 2015-06-27.
  19. ^