Donations for 3 burned historic black churches pour in after Notre Dame fire

by Leonardo Blair, |
A collage of the three historically black churches in Louisiana that were burnt to the ground between March and April 2019. | Image: GoFundMe

Donations to restore three historically black churches torched in alleged arson attacks in Louisiana are pouring in after high profile figures like Hillary Clinton asked the public to remember them too when more than $700 million was quickly raised to restore the famed Notre Dame cathedral in France.

"As we hold Paris in our thoughts today, let's also send some love to our neighbors in Louisiana. Three historically black churches have burned in recent weeks, charring buildings and scattering communities," Clinton tweeted Tuesday with a link to a GoFundMe campaign that had initially been struggling to raise the $1.8 million needed to restore the three churches.

Mount Pleasant Baptist Church became the third historically black church over 100 years old to burn down in St. Landry Parish, in a span of 10 days earlier this month. St. Mary's Baptist Church was the first reported church fire on March 26 and Greater Union Baptist Church went up in flames a week later.

Last Wednesday, the Seventh District Baptist Association, a 149-year-old nonprofit religious organization, launched the GoFundMe campaign seeking to raise the $1.8 million to evenly distribute between the three churches to help them rebuild. On Monday morning, even after retired Christian New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson, urged his supporters on Twitter over the weekend to support it, only about $60,000 had been raised.

"It is imperative that we show this community and the entire country that these types of acts do not represent who we are. And most importantly as the body of Christ, we suffer alongside our brothers and sisters whenever tragedy, persecution or loss happens," he noted in one of several tweets on the church fires.

It was a tweet from journalist Yashar Ali on Tuesday, as the world mourned over the Notre Dame, that sparked donations from liberals and conservatives alike.

"The rebuild of Notre Dame will be well funded. In the past month, three historically black churches in Louisiana were destroyed by a racist arsonist. He has been charged with hate crimes, but these churches need your help. Please join me in donating," Ali wrote.

"Wonderful, important cause. Just donated. Thanks for tweeting this, @yashar!" conservative pundit Ben Shapiro quickly responded.

The campaign has since gone viral and as of Wednesday morning has galloped beyond the $1 million mark.

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