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President Barack Obama will deliver the eulogy for the pastor of the historic church where the attack took place.
Reverend Clementa Pinckney, a widely admired state senator and pastor of Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, was among the nine people who died when a gunman opened fire during Bible study.
The massacre has sparked an intense dialogue across the southern United States over the legacy of slavery and its symbols, centering on the Civil War-era battle flag of the Confederacy.
Addressing the shooting last week, Obama said it raised questions “about a dark part of our history.”
Nicknamed “Mother Emanuel,” the Gothic Revival-style house of worship is the oldest A.M.E. church in the southeastern United States, and was founded by slaves.
In an unusual step, Obama will be accompanied by both First Lady Michele Obama and Vice President Joe Biden for the funeral in a Charleston college arena. All three knew Pinckney personally.