The Angels of Emanuel AME


Drawn by Madeleine, age 7.

This drawing started at a quiet Mount Pleasant home with a simple yet difficult question by Madeleine: “Why is the world full of broken people?”

Melanie, the mother of two including young Madeleine, said while Madeleine asked a lot of questions about what happened Wednesday night, Madeleine’s twin sister Emma Kate talked very little about it.

“Why can’t the good people teach the bad people to be good?” Madeleine asked her mother, another question that seems simple to a 7-year-old mind but is anything but simple for an adult. “Just because someone is different doesn’t mean you have to do something bad to them.”

During the conversation, Melanie says her daughter also asked to see a picture of the church where the shooting happened. Madeleine also Googled instructions on how to draw an angel.

Her mother gave Madeleine photos of the nine victims.

“Madeleine wanted the Angels to be a good representation,” Melanie said.

So Madeleine armed with blank sheets of paper and crayons looked on the faces of the people killed — Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Sharonda Singleton, Cynthia Hurd, Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Rev. Daniel Simmons, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, Tywanza Sanders, and Myra Thompson — and started to draw.

Mother Emanuel AME Church stands large in the picture, taking up most of the page. Flying above are the nine slain church members, most holding a peace symbol or a heart.

Three have their arms outstretched, seemingly welcoming an embrace.

3 thoughts on “The Angels of Emanuel AME

  1. I am an atheist and I loved the questions these little girls raised and I love the art work. It makes me think a little child shall lead them and I am not quoting scripture. After reading this and seeing the art work that is what came into mind for me. I am so glad their mother told them the truth. ” Truth will out.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Six Months Later: Remembering Emmanuel AME |
  3. After our tragedy here in Newtown, three students asked me if they could create a bulletin board outside my classroom. They’d been making a hellish amount of cut paper snowflakes, so I thought, for sure, that I’d be seeing a snowy scene. But then, one of my students, Katie, started creating templates of what looked like people at first. Next came the wings. Finally a green school house. Before they were done, 26 beautiful angels, individually crafted rose above the school house. I snapped a picture of it, and think often about those three students and all the joy and comfort that bulletin board brought to everyone who passed by our door. Jesus, a gifted teacher, loved the children. And boy, oh boy, so do I!


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