Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Standing on Holy Ground

Standing on Holy Ground

A Triumph over Hate Crime in the Deep South

Sandra E. Johnson

St. Martin's Press




A sweeping epidemic of hate crime targeted over one hundred Southern Black Churches between 1995 and 1996, leaving them in charred ruins. St. John Baptist Church in Dixiana, South Carolina, was one of the first destroyed. This small, isolated church had faced dark times before. It had been viciously desecrated in 1985 and withstood more attacks until it was burned down in August 1995.

From the beginning, two friends--a white woman named Ammie Murray, and a black woman named Barbara Simmons--rallied volunteers to rebuild the historic St. John. Much to their amazement, hundreds of people from diverse racial and cultural backgrounds responded to their call for help. They refused to stop rebuilding the church-despite repeated attempts on Ammie and Barbara's lives and relentless attacks on the church. Soon, these two heroic women joined the leaders and congregations from two other burned, black churches-Macedonia Baptist and Mt. Zion AME-in leading the nation in a courageous battle against hate crime in the deep South.

Beautifully rendered with warmth and grace, this inspiring story of enduring friendship, reconciliation, spiritual strength, and hope shows us how we can triumph over racial hatred.

Christopher Awards - Nominee, Christopher Awards - Winner


Silent Tongue
The morning of January 2, 1985, started out ordinarily enough for Ammie as she maneuvered her Topaz sedan into its customary parking space behind the small office building where she worked....


Praise for Standing on Holy Ground

“...a ruthlessly honest account of the new progressive South still struggling with a very old legacy of hate.” —USA Today

“...shows how faith, love, and sheer bullheadedness may lose battle after battle against racism - and still win the war.” —O Magazine

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Sandra E. Johnson

Sandra E. Johnson is a regular guest columnist for The State, South Carolina's largest newspaper. Her work has also appeared in the Washington Post, Transitions Abroad, and Columbia Metropolitan magazine. She lives in Columbia, South Carolina about twenty miles from St. John Baptist Church, and participated in its rebuilding.

Sandra E. Johnson

From the Publisher

St. Martin's Press

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