As we stood in Charleston on Calhoun Street in front of Emanuel AME Church, my friend, Dr Chenjerai Kumanyika, and I met three men who asked us why we were there.

I’m not sure if I effectively explained myself to them, because the truth was I hadn’t really figured it out then, and maybe I still haven’t figured it out now.

As a graduate student whose primary work fuses research and artistic interpretation, I sometimes find it difficult to answer such a question to my satisfaction or to the satisfaction of anyone asking. But I try.

Learning about the South

Of course, we’d come to show love and respect for those lost to the senseless, cowardly violence inflicted here, and to help support, in any way possible, the community dealing with this tragedy as the world focuses its attention on Charleston once again after the shooting of Walter Scott – two times too many in the last few months.

But I couldn’t get my mind off the statue of John C Calhoun – senator, vice president and strident defender of slavery – towering over Marion Square just a block away.

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Aydee TheGreat

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I'm just a little south of the Windy City...