MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (AP) — A Civil War battle re-enactment at a historic South Carolina planation has been canceled in the wake of the shooting deaths of nine black parishioners at a Charleston church in June.
Boone Hall Plantation in Mount Pleasant will not host the re-enactment of the Battle of Secessionville that was scheduled for November, according to local media outlets.
Boone Hall marketing director Rick Benthall said the event comes too soon after the slayings at Emanuel AME Church on June 17. Benthall said it was canceled out of respect for the victims' families and to allow the community to heal.
"It was a difficult decision as Boone Hall's association with this event has been long standing, but one we made and think is best on behalf of Boone Hall and the Charleston community at this time," Benthall said in a statement Tuesday.
Prior to the attack, the man charged in the church slayings, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, had posted pictures of himself posing with the Confederate flag. In one picture, he was in a slave cabin at Boone Hall.
Roof, who has entered no plea in state court, formally pleaded not guilty July 31 to the federal charges. During a brief hearing, his attorneys in that case said their client wants to plead guilty but that they couldn't advise him to do so until federal prosecutors announced their decision on possibly pursuing the death penalty.
NAACP Charleston Branch President Dot Scott welcomed news of Boone Hall's decision to cancel the re-enactment.
"We are grateful. We think that it's appropriate in terms of not following through with the re-enactment, particularly in light of what we've been dealing with for the last couple of months," Scott said.
The Battle of Secessionville was fought on James Island in 1862 when Confederate forces turned back a Union attempt to capture Charleston.
Event chairman Randy Burbage said this would have been the 25th anniversary of the three-day event that draws hundreds from around the country. The Confederate Heritage Trust Inc. sponsors the re-enactment.