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Not long after Dylann Roof murdered 9 people inside Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, a series of arsons took place at mostly black churches in in and around St. Louis, Missouri. Roof had stated he set out to commit the crime in hopes of starting a race war, and so the timing and targeting of these churches, along with the location – in North St. Louis, near Ferguson, the scene of rioting and increased racial tensions following the August 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown, led many to believe the arsons were racially motivated.

The hashtag #WhoIsBurningBlackChurches trended on Twitter for days. Unsurprisingly, white people, and specifically “right wing extremists” were blamed.

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