RIDGELAND, S.C. (WTOC) - In Jasper County on Wednesday, members of the historic society and the church that Clementa Pinckney grew up in and delivered his first sermon paid tribute to the late senator.
They dedicated a historic marker, which stands along Highway 336, just outside Pinckney’s childhood church, St. John A.M.E.
The purpose of Wednesday’s sign dedication was more than the acknowledgement of the sign standing outside the late Senator and Reverend Clementa Pinckney’s former church, it was to remember the impact he had and legacy he left behind.
“Clementa, even when he got into the role of politics, I think he had a very personal connection with Jasper County,” said Steve Rountree, President of the Jasper County Historical Society. Rountree was also Pinckney’s t-ball coach when he was growing up.
“He wanted to be a preacher. And he started preaching at 14. 14 years old he started preaching. And it was his first sermon right here in this church, and it was beautiful,” St. John A.M.E. Church member Florence Morse said.
For Morse, this sign will remind her of that time, and of Pinckney’s legacy in the community. For Carl Tyler, who watched Clementa Pinckney grow up with his kids, and considering him one of his own, it will do the same.
“We knew, we knew from an early age that he was special...and he would go a long way. It flooded my heart when I got the news,” Tyler said.
“He was a dear person to us, and he always treated everyone alike. And he always wanted the best for this community, and he worked hard for the State of South Carolina,” Thomasina Tyler said.
Pinckney was one of nine people killed in the Charleston church shooting in 2015 by Dylan Roof.
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