BLACK VOICES

Obama, Thousands Mourn Rev. Clementa Pinckney (PHOTOS)

06/26/2015 02:59 pm ET | Updated Jun 26, 2015

The Charleston streets were packed Friday just before 11 a.m., when officials announced that the funeral of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, held at TD Arena, was at capacity.

Thousands of mourners came from all over to remember Pinckney, one of nine people fatally shot inside Emanuel AME Church last Wednesday, according to The Post and Courier. The "Mother Emanuel" choir, hundreds strong, led roughly 6,000 people through rousing gospel standards between speakers who celebrated the legacy of Pinckney and his fellow churchgoers.

"Someone should have told the young man. He wanted to start a race war. But he came to the wrong place," The Right Rev. John Richard Bryant said to rounds of applause. A banner alongside Pinckney's closed coffin declared, "WRONG CHURCH! WRONG PEOPLE! WRONG DAY!"

As many braved the heat outside to hear prayer, a celebration of remembrance was taking place inside.

SEE PHOTOS FROM THE FUNERAL BELOW

"His powerful voice was a voice of reason for the hopeless," Rev. George Flowers, executive director of AME's Global Witness & Ministry, said of Pinckney. "He spoke up and spoke for those who cannot speak for themselves as they recognized they had no seat at the table.

"He shall be remembered," he said, "for his quick wit, his giant smile, and his enormous heart."

The services included special messages from Pinckney's daughters and wife. In a program obtained by WSPA, his daughter Malana said:

“I know you love me and I know that you know that I love you too. You have done so much for me. I can’t say it all. You will be watching over me and you will be in my heart.”

Pinckney’s oldest daughter, Eliana, said, “It is my dear father who passed away and although he may be gone, he’s there with me all day and night long. I will always remember and love you.”

President Obama, who knew Pinckney personally, offered a eulogy at the service, and was accompanied by first lady Michelle Obama, House Speaker John Boehner, Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill.

Pickney was ordained as a minister at 18, and was also a state senator. He was considered one of the most respected figures in South Carolina before he died, Time reports.

  • Jon-Sesrie Goff / jongenius / Instagram
    Clergy walk from Emanuel AME Church to TD Arena for Sen. Pinckney's funeral on Friday, June 26, 2015.
  • kevindliles / Instagram
    A woman sings a hymn with the crowd waiting outside TD Arena for the funeral of Clementa PInckney.
  • con7bst / Instagram
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Mourners pray before the funeral service for Sen. Clementa Pinckney, Friday, June 26, 2015, in Charleston, S.C.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Mourners attend the funeral service for Sen. Clementa Pinckney, Friday, June 26, 2015, in Charleston, S.C.
  • david_pendergrass / Instagram
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A mourner prays during the funeral service for Sen. Clementa Pinckney, Friday, June 26, 2015, in Charleston, S.C.
  • MANDEL NGAN via Getty Images
    The wife of South Carolina State Sen. and Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Jennifer, stands with their daughters Malana and Eliana before US President Barack Obama delivers the eulogy during the funeral of slain Clementa Pinckney, at the College of Charleston TD Arena, in Charleston, South Carolina on June 26, 2015.
  • Pool via Getty Images
    Rev. Norvel Goff leads the funeral at the College Charleston TD Arena for South Carolina State Sen. Clementa Pinckney who was killed during the mass shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church along with eight others on June 26, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A mourner prays next to the casket of Sen. Clementa Pinckney during his funeral service, Friday, June 26, 2015, in Charleston, S.C.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    An image of Sen. Clementa Pinckney decorates the cover of a program as mourners embrace before his funeral service, Friday, June 26, 2015, in Charleston, S.C.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Mourners stand up to applaud Sen. Clementa Pinckney during his funeral service, Friday, June 26, 2015, in Charleston, S.C.
  • Win McNamee via Getty Images
    Mourners sing gospel hymns during the funeral service where U.S. President Barack Obama will deliver the eulogy for South Carolina State senator and Rev. Clementa Pinckney who was killed along with eight others in a mass shooting June 26, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina.
  • MANDEL NGAN via Getty Images
    US President Barack Obama claps his hands before he delivers the eulogy during the funeral of slain South Carolina State Sen and Rev.Clementa Pinckney, at the College of Charleston TD Arena, in Charleston, South Carolina on June 26, 2015.
  • Win McNamee via Getty Images
    Mourners bow their heads in prayer during the funeral service where U.S. President Barack Obama delivered the eulogy for South Carolina State senator and Rev. Clementa Pinckney who was killed along with eight others in a mass shooting June 26, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina.
  • osakasteve / Instagram
  • Joe Raedle via Getty Images
    U.S. President Barack Obama delivers the eulogy for South Carolina state senator and Rev. Clementa Pinckney during Pinckney's funeral service June 26, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina.
  • MANDEL NGAN via Getty Images
    US President Barack Obama greets Jennifer Pinckney, during the funeral of slain pastor Rev. and South Carolina State Sen. Clementa Pinckney, at the College of Charleston TD Arena, in Charleston, South Carolina on June 26, 2015.
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