of Angel Oak
To Till or Keep
As ZACK COMPTON walked up the steps and into the foyer of the large white stucco Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the second oldest in the denomination and the mother church of the South, he recalled its beginnings as a church founded by slaves. He also reflected on the irony of its location on Calhoun Street here in Charleston. John C. Calhoun, after all, was the fiery senator who bore much of the responsibility for South Carolina's secession from the Union and its militant defense of slavery. Calhoun was buried in Charleston almost in the shadow of his heroically proportioned statue sitting on an eighty-foot pedestal in a park only a block away. As he looked in that direction, Zack noted that the church's towering spire was even taller.
Zack found his way to the office of Bishop Adcox, who presided over all African Methodist Episcopal (AME) churches in the Charleston Lowcountry, and introduced himself to the secretary. “Good morning. I'm Isaac Compton, attorney. I have an appointment at the bishop's request to discuss the Johns Island road project as it impacts Grace AME Church.”
“Certainly,” she said smiling, leading him into an office. “Bishop Adcox is waiting for you with considerable interest and anticipation.”
“Mr. Compton,” the bishop said, rising from his desk and extending his hand in welcome, “I'm so glad to meet you. We obviously have a great deal to discuss. Perhaps we should start with the front-page story in today's edition of the Post Courier. Have you seen it?”