Greenville Hopewell Baptist Church: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

The Greenville Hopewell Baptist Church, a black church in Greenville, Mississippi was vandalized with the words “Vote Trump” on the side of the building and burned in early November, before the general election. The graffiti read “Vote Trump.” In December, a suspect, Andrew McClinton, was finally arrested.

The church has been standing there for 111 years and there are 200 members of the congregation. Thankfully, there were no injuries reported. No one was in the building at the time of the fire.

Greenville officials held a press conference on the incident, which started shortly after 10:30 a.m. local time. You can watch the complete press conference below.

Here’s what we know so far about the incident.

1. The Fire Happened at 9:15 P.M. & There Were No Reported Injuries

The Delta Daily News reports that the fire happened at around 9:15 p.m. CT. Greenville Fire Chief Ruben Brown confirmed that there were no reported injuries and that most of the damage happened in the main sanctuary.

As WJTV notes, it’s not clear if the fire and vandalism are connected.

During the press conference, officials said that it took about 12 minutes to extinguish the fire, but crews remained there for another hour and a half. After a preliminary investigation, Mayor Errick D. Simmons went to the scene to meet with pastor Carilyn Hudson and members of the church congregation that had assembled at the scene.

Greenville Police Chief Freddie Cannon said that several possible witnesses have been interviewed. Cannon also called the incident a “form of voting intimidation.”

This case is being investigated as a hate crime and the investigation has yet to determine what caused the fire. However, Brown later told CNN that they have concluded that the fire was intentional. An $11,000 reward has been offered for information that leads to an arrest.

Andrew McClinton: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Andrew McClinton has been accused of painting "Vote Trump" on a black church in Greenville, Mississippi, before setting it on fire. He is a member of the church.

Click here to read more

2. Suspect Andrew McClinton Was Arrested on December 21

Clarion-Ledger reporter Therese Apel posted a statement on Twitter confirming that the FBI quickly began investigating the situation. Here’s the full statement:

The FBI Jackson Division is aware of the situation in Greenville, and we are working with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to determine in any civil rights crimes were committed.

The ATF and the State Fire Marshall arrived on the scene of the fire shortly after it was first reported.

During the press conference, officials said that they have no suspects, although police are talking with a “person of interest.” There is no surveillance footage of the scene, but they ask for anyone who might have filmed the fire to come forward.

“It’s bad enough for any type of structure to burned, but a church, is beyond my ability to comprehend. Who, how had any faith or any belief in God, or had ever been in a church, experienced the wonder of being in a church or worshiping, then, could set it on fire,” Governor Phil Bryant told WJTV.

On December 21, over a month after the fire, The Associated Press reported that Andrew McClinton of Leland, Mississippi was arrested in connection with the fire. Warren Strain, spokesman for the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, said that McClinton, who is African-American, was charged with first degree arson of a place of worship.

The investigation is still ongoing, but authorities don’t think politics was the motive for setting the fire.

“We do not believe it was politically motivated. There may have been some efforts to make it appear politically motivated,” Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney told the AP.

Andrew McClinton: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Andrew McClinton has been accused of painting "Vote Trump" on a black church in Greenville, Mississippi, before setting it on fire. He is a member of the church.

Click here to read more

3. A GoFundMe Page Has Already Raised Over $230,000 for the Church

J. Blair Reeves Jr. launched a GoFundMe page and hopes to raise $10,000. In the first two hours, 18 people donated $630 to the church. By November 6, the campaign raised $237,578 for the church.

Reeves wrote:

The animus of this election cycle combined with the potent racial history of burning black churches as a political symbol makes this event something we must not ignore. Only two weeks ago, the internet came together to help repair a North Carolina GOP field office that had been burned by thugs. Justice demands we do the same now. More details as they are available. Can we do this? Can we help show the world, the country, and most importantly, the churchgoers of Hopewell Baptist that we, as a society, are better than this?

The fire comes just weeks after a North Carolina Republican office was firebombed and vandalized.

When asked if there were any other incidents of vandalism in the city, Simmons said that the “n-word” was found written on a boat ramp in the city on September 11. Simmons said he had the word painted over.

“This should not happen in 2016,” Simmons said of the church fire, which he called “a heinous, hateful and cowardly act,” reports the Clarion Ledger.

“This act is a direct assault on people’s right to freely worship,” Simmons added. “We will not rest until the culprit is found and fully prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

“Those responsible will answer for this despicable crime against people of faith. We expect a suspect will be ID’ed and brought to justice,” Governor Phil Bryant said in a statement.

4. Donald Trump Has Strong Support in Mississippi

Mississippi is considered a state that Donald Trump will easily win in the general election and the state’s Republican politicians have stood by him, despite his controversial remarks on women.

“The remarks made on that video were disrespectful and indefensible, and I trust that the apology for them was sincere,” U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran said in a statement on October 10. “I will continue to support Republican candidates and policies that will make our country safer and stronger.”

The most recent poll on Real Clear Politics, taken in August, shows Trump with a 15-point lead over Hillary Clinton.

5. Trump Has Said He Has a ‘New Deal for Black America’

Donald Trump, Donald Trump Mississippi, Donald Trump KKK

Donald Trump at a Jackson, Mississippi rally in August. (Getty)

Trump has little support among the African American community, but has tried to make inroads in recent days. During a campaign stop in Charlotte on October 26, Trump said he has a “new deal for black America,” notes the Washington Post.

“I will be your greatest champion. I will never ever take the African American community for granted. Never, ever,” Trump said.

On November 2, the Ku Klux Klan used its newspaper to endorse Donald Trump, but Trump issued a statement calling the KKK’s newspaper “repulsive.”

“While Trump wants to make America great again, we have to ask ourselves, ‘What made America great in the first place?’ The short answer to that is simple: America was great not because of what our forefathers did — but because of who our forefathers were. America was founded as a White Christian Republic. And as a White Christian Republic it became great,” the paper, called “The Crusader,” reads. The headline uses Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.

“This publication is repulsive and their views do not represent the tens of millions of Americans who are uniting behind our campaign,” the Trump campaign said in a statement.

Black Church Fires: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Black churches across the South have burned down in the weeks since nine people were gunned down at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Click here to read more

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  1. Wonder how much CrooKilary and her fellow DEMORATS paid to have a DEMORAT do this, since MS has the common sense to NOT vote for CrooKilary!? Hopefully WL can Expose it’s just another one of the DEMORATS Dirty and ILLEGAL tactics, Before the election!

    • Trumpanzees are blaming democrats and calling it a false flag operation…. it makes no sense, naturally Trump’s obnoxious diarrhea that comes out of his mouth
      incites hate and social division, but it is not surprising that Trumpanzees point the finger to others, if Cheeto face is so cynical why not his deplorable supporters?
      I am sure the people responsible were some Dylann-Roofs racist maniacs.

        • ” Southern inbred retarded piece of trump shit”
          That is no way to talk about how [never been to africa] african americans now is it? You liberal/progressives are so racist.

      • Sorry, Derpf, there’s no such thing as the “American” language. We speak Englsh, which originated in Great Britain.

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      • It’s not hard to find on Google. But out of 64 church burnings, only 4 were proven to be set by white power losers. But of course, you have to be willing to seek the truth instead of just denying it out of hand and demanding “proof” that you yourself can easily find. So, how long have you been using marxist tactics in discussions?

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  2. jews will have he last laugh they have gotten the white population of the world down to less than 10% long live the jews long live the jews :-))

    • Yea, Julian Assange, the pedophile rapist crouching tiger coward–his wikileaks have never been hacked again and manipulated back. Kinda like regurgitation. What a joke. Gotta love the “just Google it” folks too. Y’all better wise up and start going a little bit more deeper underground for your real news. Try a not so popular OS for starters. Duh.

    • Yes ! it was probably a black lives matter supporter that was invited to the White House by the Muslim King Obama !

      The pastor of the church probably said he was voting for Trump so they burn down his church !!

      These are the kind of people that we’re dealing with violent paid protesters !!

    • It’s funny you call out inbreeding. Thanks to the “street names” and the phenomenon of Baby mommas and Baby daddies, blacks are producing generations of kids who don’t know they are related. This is leading to an increase in unintended incest which causes inbreeding. Blacks in the US are sitting on a ticking inbreeding time bomb but prefer to make jokes about whites instead. Good luck with that. Losers.

      • You Trumpanzees gotta’ get a grip, othertwise you’re going to be in for one brutal shock come November 9th . . . instead, stop whining, and take some responsibility for your lives . . . my life was turned upside down and inside out during the Great Recession . . . but did I sit around and bitch and moan, feel sorry for myself and blame my fate on others . . . .no, I didn’t have that luxury, nor was that the way I was raised. I went back to school in my 50’s to update my skills, and earned several credentials . . . today, I make almost double what I was making before the Great Recession . . . it was brutal, and there are still days when it’s still a stretch, but my dignity and integrity demand no less!

  3. That’s a brick church, not a black church. Well, the insides are probably black now, what with the fire damage and all.

  4. 98% sure someone on Hillary’s side did this. 100% sure that it was not a Trump voter. So far, people (looks like mostly Trump supporters from those who left comments) have raised (as of 6:15PM Eastern) $70K so far on and several thousand more on youcares (before that fundraiser was shut down by the site for being “too political” as 100% of the money was being sent in the name of the Donald and all that is good from the Reddit board

    Lets get the arsonist (a Bob Creamer “violent dirty tricks department” employee?) in prison and may the spirit of MAGA take hold in this great nation.

  5. That’s one of the leftist tricks They have used it forever Long time ago the KKK was what the leftists are today.

  6. What a joke yup the Trump campaign did this, yup huh yup huh yup. Democrat BS all the way. So sad those liberals can’t have a election and let the person with the most honest votes win.

  7. Looks like the job of Alex Jones’ supporters, you know, now Trumpanzees can do all kinds of racist actions like burning a church, thinking democrats will be blamed because a stupid conspiracy theory called “VERITAS”

    • That’s what this is all about, money. Burning down a church is how you cover poor maintenance and a crumbling structure that a congregation can’t afford to repair. It’s the new “Ghetto Lotto”. Just look at the money this fire has raised. Maybe torching churches is the way to economic recovery!!!!!!!

  8. What is black church or white church ???. are both of them have different God’s. If not, you should have avoid naming churches based on race, gender or color. We all descend from one parents as the bible mentioned it. So ,bible said love and respect each other and pray to your God together. we know politicians exploited the church by diversified for their advantage.

  9. drumph is the poster boy for the KKK they love him and he loves them. We all already know he is the puppet of vlad putin another racist and sexist so it’s no surprise that he is also loved by the clan. If he is elected do not be surprised when your children are forced to learn russian in school.

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  11. Destroying Christian church buildings makes me vomit. I do not remember Trump calling for this kind of action. I hope the guilty are found and punished.

    • You are correct, Anonymous. Trump never called for the burning of a church. However, his entire campaign has been one of divisiveness, misogyny, mendacity, and fear. There’s a reason the KKK endorsed him and not Hilllaryy!