President Bill Clinton speaks out against Black church fires as racial tension builds in the South.
1996 (Jun 12)
In Greeleyville, South Carolina, President Bill Clinton attended the dedication ceremony for the newly built sanctuary of the Mt. Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church. The previous sanctuary of the church had been destroyed by arson in 1995. Clinton, told the crowd, "We are not going back, we are not slipping back to those dark days (before the civil rights movement)." The southern United States had felt racial tension as arson claimed dozens of Black churches over the previous seven years. The Federal Bureau of Investigations, in conjunction with the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco, led investigations into the suspicious fires. The departments concluded that no national conspiracy could be linked to the church fires.