A 79-year-old Methodist minister who died after setting himself on fire on a busy street in this town of about 3,100 residents left behind a suicide letter asking the community to repent for its racism.
Charles Robert Moore, who had addresses in Allen and Sunnyvale, drove to Grand Saline on June 23, parked his vehicle in a Dollar General lot in the 500 block of East Garland Street, doused himself in gasoline and committed self-immolation, Police Chief Larry Compton said.
In the note, which Compton provided to the Tyler Morning Telegraph, Moore – who is white – stated he was born in Grand Saline and grew up around racial discrimination.
His letter claimed that the community shunned blacks and resorted to violence, including hangings, burnings and decapitations.
“I will soon be 80 years old, and my heart is broken over this,” Morris wrote. “America, and Grand Saline … have never really repented for the atrocities of slavery and its aftermath. What my hometown needs to do is open its heart and its doors to black people as a sign of the rejection of past sins.”
So at this late date, I have decided to join them by giving my body to be burned,” he wrote. “With love in my heart not only for them but also of the perpetrators of such horror … “
Reports say Rev. Moore drove from his home in Allen, and pulled into a parking lot before dousing himself with gasoline and setting himself on fire. The flames were put out by a witness, but the pastor did not survive as a result of his injuries.
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