An African American woman who was a member of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina recounts the day that her church went from a historic symbol to a national headline. Her story is different from others, she was on her way to church that night and was held up that night making her arrival late and missing the massacre. She doesn’t know why and she doesn’t understand why she was chosen to live and others that night had to die. But like all great tragedies those left behind are filled with overwhelming emotions and the one question, “Why?” She prays and sings her way to an understanding of what it means to be knocked down and find your way back up to your feet. Remembering her pastor, her friends and the people that became her family while recognizing that the person that killed them was a child reaching out to someone for something and no one grabbed his hand. Her positive attitude teaches us all a lesson in forgiveness and the skill or art of being able to move on and pray again with all the faith that God has given you.

DI/ Female- Amazing Grace

  • I start every day exactly how my grandma taught me too. I get on my knees and I pray. I thank God for the things that I have, ask forgiveness for some of the things that I've done and I laugh with him for some of the things that I want. (Laughs) Laughter and song are the two things to get me through. (Beat) Through everything that this life has thrown my way. Laughter in life and with life and song that of course started in the first pew of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. For hundreds of years it was known for its history during the slavery era all the way through the Civil Rights Movement. It was never just a church it was a (Laughs) history lesson with its beautiful construction that sat on the corner in Charleston, South Carolina, it was home. But now, now it has turned into much much more. Sometimes you find yourself watching the news for hours and hours when a monumental event happens in your world and you just can't disconnect. There was an interview of a man the day those planes hit the towers in New York. He was supposed to be at work that day in tower number one on the 89th floor but his son got sick and his wife was out of town. When he was being interviewed he told the reporter that he had never been so thankful that his son had gotten sick, while at the same time feeling like there was a greater force that saved his life over the thousands of lives that perished that day. Then he broke down and all he could ask is why? Why was his life saved over another? (Beat) I'll never forgive myself. I'll never forgive myself for not making it to prayer service that night.




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