Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

When the news broke Wednesday night of the horrific massacre at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, from the start people asked why this crime, which would have been labeled "terrorism" if the killer had been a Muslim, is merely a "hate crime" or the work of a deranged madman since the murderer is white. It's a very good question and people are right to ask it. I think the word "terrorism", as we've come to use it, is so clumsy that it might be better to retire the word altogether. But as long as we do use it, it definitely makes sense to apply the label to this crime. But there's another meaning of the term, or another history, that I think helps us understand much more of the past and the present of what happened Wednesday night in Charleston.

You've probably heard of The Citadel, one of the most storied military academies in the United States, which is located in Charleston. As Benjamin Parks explains in this piece from yesterday, the origins of The Citadel are directly linked to the reaction to the Denmark Vesey slave conspiracy that rocked the city in 1822. As you've probably also seen in the news coverage over the last two days, Vesey was one of the founders of the Emanuel AME Church. Nor is this connection between The Citadel and the attempted Vesey uprising some coincidence or oddity. It is a particular connection that illustrates a greater and sobering truth: the Southern military tradition, whatever it has evolved into in more recent history, has its roots in the institution of and particularly the preservation of slavery. Whether it is slave patrols, militias focused on putting down slave revolts or musters intended to overawe subject populations - while no institution has a single origin, this basic fact about the history of the American South is unquestionably true. It is particularly so about South Carolina.

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This story is, painfully, much more timely than when we first assigned it. But it's a must-read on several levels. Tomorrow is Juneteenth - a predominantly African-American holiday commemorating the end of slavery - and the 150th anniversary of the event it celebrates, the arrival of the US Army at Galveston Island on June 19th 1865. Read this piece and it will change your understanding of just how slavery really ended and why.

A great quote from a piece we're publishing later today on the history of Juneteenth and the critical role of the US Army in ending slavery. "Freedpeople, as [former slave Felix] Haywood’s quote reminds us, did not need the Army to teach them about freedom; they needed the Army to teach planters the futility of trying to sustain slavery."

We now have reports that Dylann Roof, the alleged assailant in last night's Charleston church massacre has been captured in Shelby, North Carolina.

The suspect in the Charleston massacre is 21 year old Dylann Roof.

Looks the part. Terrifying what one sick, evil person can do.

1:05 AM: A press conference is underway in Charleston. Latest reports say nine are dead in the church shooting, at least one injured.

1:10 AM: Police say the bomb threat is now over.

1:12 AM: Reverend Clementa Pinckney, the pastor at the Emanuel AME Church, as well as a state senator, was killed in tonight's shooting, along with eight others.

1:32 AM: The most pressing and on-going part of this story is that the alleged gunman is still at large.

Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley has confirmed to the AP that nine are dead at the Emanuel AME Church.