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The response after a young man shot and killed nine members of their Bible study netted a Charleston church a Nobel Peace Prize nomination.
"The mere fact that the church is in the same realm as Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the highest honors," Emanuel AME Church historian Liz said. "That our church contributed to peace in this world is just phenomenal, and it's unequaled in Charleston history."
Though they lost nine of their own, members of Emanuel went to Roof's hearing and told him one by one that they forgave him.
"An incident of such terror and racial hatred could have sparked an outpour of anger and violence from the community, as had been the case with similar incidents in other U.S. cities. However, something different happened and the public response was not rage, vengeance, violence, but one of Christian forgiveness, unity and peace led by the congregation and the families of the nine ('Emanuel 9') victims," Congressional Black Caucus Chairman G.K. Butterfield said.
The Congressional Black Congress sponsored the nomination, along with seminary professors and lawmakers.
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