June 19, 2015

Cynthia Hurd, one of the Charleston victims, dedicated her life as a librarian to helping people get educated

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Cynthia Hurd was one of the victims of Wednesday’s fatal attack. Through her career in the Charleston library system, she dedicated her life to helping others. Image via CCPL.

As the country struggles in the aftermath of Wednesday night’s revolting act of violence in Charleston, we’re learning more about the nine victims, who have all now been identified.

State Sen. Clementa Pinckney, the church’s pastor.

Cynthia Hurd, 54, St. Andrews regional branch manager for the Charleston County Public Library system.

Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, a church pastor, speech therapist and coach of the girls’ track and field team at Goose Creek High School

Tywanza Sanders, 26, who had a degree in business administration from Allen University, where Pinckney also attended

Ethel Lance, 70, a retired Gilliard Center employee who worked recently as a church janitor.

Susie Jackson, 87, Lance’s cousin who was named by a relative and was a longtime church member.

Depayne Middleton Doctor, 49, who retired in 2005 as Charleston County director of the Community Development Block Grant Program.

Mira Thompson, 59, a pastor at the church.

Daniel Simmons Sr., 74, who died in a hospital operating room.

Cynthia Hurd worked in the Charleston County library system for 31 years, as branch manager of the John L. Dart Branch and later the St. Andrews Regional Library. Her death is a huge loss to the community.

One of the nine victims of Wednesday’s church massacre, Hurd spent her life helping people, particularly helping them become educated, according to a statement put out by Jamie Thomas, the library system’s spokeswoman and a friend of Hurd’s.

“Her loss is incomprehensible, and we ask for prayers for her family, her co-workers, her church and this entire community as we come together to face this tragic loss,” the statement said.

According to the Charleston Post and Courier, Hurd was also a member of the Charleston Housing Authority Board, as well as president of the Septima P. Clark Corp., a “nonprofit that gives small grants to resident programs for those in public housing.” Hurd is survived by her husband, a longshoreman who has been on a ship near Saudi Arabia, and is trying to get home, and siblings including her brother, former North Carolina state Sen. Malcolm Graham. He told the Charlotte Observer, “She was the one who brought us closer. It’s so senseless.”

Calling Hurd a “tireless servant of the community who spent her life helping residents, making sure they had every opportunity for an education and personal growth,” the Charleston library system closed all 16 of its branches on Thursday, to honor all of the victims. If you’d like to donate to the Charleston Friends of the Library, you can do so here. If you’d like to donate to the Emanuel AME Church, where Hurd was attending Bible study when she was killed, it’s quite easy to do so from their website, here.

Julia Fleischaker is a former director of marketing and publicity at Melville House.

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