Jennifer Pinckney, Charleston Church Shooting Survivor, to Speak at Duke

Jennifer Pinckney, whose husband, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, was among nine killed last summer in a shooting at a Charleston church, will speak at Duke Feb. 9

Jennifer Pinckney

Jennifer Pinckney, widow of the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, who was among nine killed last year in the shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, will take part in a roundtable conversation Tuesday, Feb. 9 at Duke University.

The event, “Reflections on Charleston: A Conversation on Faith and Race,” takes  place at 7 p.m. at Page Auditorium. The conversation is free and open to the public, but attendees are required to get tickets in advance. The event is part of the John Hope Franklin Afro-Diasporic Legacies Series hosted by Duke’s Franklin Humanities Institute (FHI).

The Rev. Kylon Middleton and Rev. Chris Vaughn, both close friends of Pinckney and her husband, will join the discussion.

The Rev. Eboni Marshall Turman, assistant research professor of theological ethics and black church studies at Duke, will moderate the discussion.

“I hold Mrs. Pinckney in the highest esteem for her courage in stepping into the public spotlight to continue a difficult conversation that we need to have in our country right now -- that of race, faith and the destructive recurrence of anti-black violence,” Turman said.

The shooting occurred June 17 in the basement of the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. Rev. Clementa Pinckney and eight others were killed, with five others  wounded. Jennifer Pinckney was in the church during the shooting but was not harmed. Dylann Roof, a South Carolina native, has been charged in the shooting. The crime sparked debate over the use of the Confederate flag, which ultimately led to South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley signing a historic bill to remove the flag from the State Capitol grounds.

Pinckney, Vaughn and Middleton will discuss issues such as race and faith, anti-black violence and reconciliation and then answer questions from audience members and via social media. A live-stream of the event can be viewed at and viewers can submit questions via Twitter using the hashtag #reflectionsoncharleston.

The event is sponsored by Duke’s Franklin Humanities Institute with the Pauli Murray Project at the Duke Human Rights Center@FHI, the Office of Black Church Studies at the Duke Divinity School, the Duke Council on Race and Ethnicity (DCORE), and the Duke Chapel.

“In keeping with the legacies of the Franklin Humanities Institute's namesake, African-American historian John Hope Franklin, the FHI is dedicated to furthering the conversation on race and human rights in our society today,” said Deborah Jenson, the FHI director. “We prize these dialogues that carry beyond the walls of learning to make a real impact in our shared world. We are simultaneously honored and humbled by the opportunity to welcome Mrs. Jennifer Pinckney, and the Reverends Kylon Middleton and Chris Vaughn.”

Free tickets are available at the Duke Box Office located at the Bryan Center. They are also available online at or by phone, (919) 684-4444. A service fee of $1.50 per ticket will be assessed for phone and online orders.