WASHINGTON (AP) — The weariness, the rage, the depressing conviction that black life is stuck in a murderous loop fueled by racism — these emotions resounded in black America after the deadly shootings at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
Nine people who had gathered to pray in one of the main sanctuaries of black life — the church — were slain.
This, following a string of black men killed after coming into contact with police officers in cities across America and racist actions on campuses. Even though African-Americans are long accustomed to dealing with difficulty where their race is concerned, the confluence of events appeared to be taking a toll.
"We really are a people who are suffering from racial battle fatigue," political essayist and commentator Chauncey DeVega said Thursday.
Authorities say Dylann Storm Roof sat with members of Emanuel for an hour during Bible study Wednesday night before gunning them down. The Charleston police chief wouldn't discuss a motive, but a friend of the 21-year-old white man told The Associated Press that Roof had complained about black people "taking over the world."
Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the first black woman to serve as the nation's top prosecutor, opened a hate crimes investigation.
The Rev. Anthony Evans of the National Black Church Initiative said he planned to travel to Charleston to help churches learn to defend themselves. He said the attack evoked "a point of deep moral frustration that cannot be explained."
"At the same time, they want individuals such as myself as clergy to preach peace and coming together," he said. "They only want us to not let the people get out of hand, and I'm not willing to stand in front of that angry crowd anymore and tell them that their anger is the wrong emotion to feel."
President Barack Obama, too, sounded weary.
"I've had to make statements like this too many times," the nation's first black president said Thursday. "Communities like this have had to endure tragedies like this too many times."