One by one over the next week, each of those slain will be laid to rest. The alleged shooter, Dylann Roof, is an avowed white supremacist who announced he wanted to kill black people.
The first victim being buried is Lance, 70, the “God-fearing woman” who served as a church sexton, loved gospel music and had been a member of Emanuel AME most of her life. Her funeral began at 11 a.m. Thursday at Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston.
Hundreds of mourners lined up outside the church Wednesday night to attend a wake for Lance, who had five children, seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Her granddaughter Najee Washington, 23, told The Post last week that Lance was “the heart of the family. She was beautiful inside and out.”
During the wake, Lance, a housekeeper who retired from Gaillard Municipal Auditorium, lay in an open casket. She wore a sequined dress. Her final resting place will be at Mother Emanuel Cemetery.
Hours after Lance is buried, the funeral of Sharonda Coleman-Singleton was scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. Thursday at the Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston. (Coleman-Singleton’s viewing was scheduled from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., followed immediately by an “Ivy Beyond the Wall ceremony” that memorializes Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority members.)
Coleman-Singleton, a 45-year-old mother of three, worked as a speech pathologist, a motivational speaker and a girls’ track and field coach at Goose Creek High.
Coleman-Singleton grew up in New Jersey and was known as “Tookey.” Family members said her true passion was preaching the gospel. She was a minister on staff at Emanuel, where she served Holy Communion and baptized children.
On Thursday evening, a viewing for state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, the pastor of Emanuel AME, whose body lay in state Wednesday in the rotunda of the South Carolina Capitol building, will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston.
Thousands of people lined up in Columbia to view Pinckney’s body. A Confederate flag that some say provoked his alleged killer continued to fly on the grounds, despite mounting calls to take it down.
President Obama will deliver the eulogy during Pickney’s funeral, which is set for 11 a.m. Friday at TD Arena on the campus of the College of Charleston.
The president will travel to Charleston with first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Biden and his wife, Jill Biden. Pinckney’s burial is set to take place immediately after the Friday service at St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church in Marion.