Three more victims of the attack on Charleston, South Carolina's Emanuel A.M.E. Church will be laid to rest on Saturday, as mourners from around the country gather to pay their respects to the nine black men and women shot dead during a Bible study more than a week ago.
The first funeral procession will take place in the morning for Cynthia Graham Hurd, 54. Hurd was the regional manager at St. Andrews Regional Library, which was named in her honor last week. "Cynthia was a tireless servant of the community who spent her life helping residents, making sure they had every opportunity for an education and personal growth," the library said in a statement after the shooting. "Her loss is incomprehensible and we ask for prayers for her family, her co-workers, her church and this entire community as we come together to face this tragic loss."
Hurd's brother, Malcolm Graham, a former North Carolina state senator, said of his sister last week, "It is unimaginable that she would walk into church and not return. But that's who she was—a woman of faith."
In the afternoon, a joint service will be held for Tywanza Sanders, 26, and his aunt, Susie Jackson, 87. Survivors said that as the gunman opened fire, Sanders tried to talk him out of his attack—then jumped in front of Jackson to shield her from the bullets with his body.
Sanders had recently graduated from Allen University in Columbia, South Carolina.
Jackson will be remembered as a caretaker and a source of strength for her family. The Post and Courier wrote in Jackson's obituary, "At one time, almost every house on Jackson’s block was owned by a relative. But her home, a classic Charleston single, was the center of family gatherings. 'You come from out of town, this is where you come,' her nephew Robert Sanders said. 'She opened her arms to us.'"
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On Friday, funeral services were held for pastor Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41. His eulogy was delivered by President Barack Obama, who described the pastor as "a man who believed in things not seen, a man who believed there were better days ahead."
The Post and Courier wrote:
Noting Pinckney’s smile and “reassuring baritone,” Obama described Pinckney’s remarkable career. “He was in the pulpit by 13, pastor by 18, public servant by 23,” and how as a state senator for Allendale, Beaufort, Charleston, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties, he “represented a sprawling swath of Lowcountry, a place that has long been one of the most neglected in America, a place still racked by poverty and inadequate schools, a place where children can still go hungry and the sick can go without treatment — a place that needed someone like Clem.
Pinckney, he added, “embodied a politics that was neither mean nor small. He conducted himself quietly and kindly and diligently.”
Funeral processions will continue at Emanuel A.M.E. Church on Sunday for DePayne Middleton-Doctor and on Monday for Myra Thompson. The final funeral will be held Tuesday at St. Luke A.M.E. Church, also in Charleston, for Daniel Simmons.