Hopewell Baptist church in Greenville, Mississippi was set on fire on Tuesday night and spray painted with the words “Vote Trump” on the side of it. No one was in the church at the time of the fire, and no one was injured.
Mayor of Mississippi Errick Simmons, said in an interview “This fire was “a direct assault on people’s right to free worship,” he said, and later added during a press conference, “I see this as an attack on the black church and the black community.”
This is a tense time in American politics. The burning of Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church is a sign of how bad things have gotten, and what may be still to come. “What we have to do is come together,” Simmons said. “The only thing that conquers hate is love.”
Black churches have long been burned in acts of intimidation and hatred; in the Jim Crow South, members of hate groups would leave flaming crosses on churchyard lawns. The bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, came at a time of extreme racial division in the United States; it was that crime, which killed four young black girls, that led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.