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"Vote Trump" is spray painted on the side of the fire damaged Hopewell M.B. Baptist Church in Greenville, Miss., Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016. Fire Chief Ruben Brown tells The Associated Press that firefighters found flames and smoke pouring from the sanctuary of the church just after 9 p.m. Tuesday. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

The fire that burned a historically black church in Mississippi was arson


UPDATE 8:27 p.m.: 

The FBI has opened a civil rights investigation of the Tuesday night fire at the 200-member Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church, and Greenville Mayor Errick Simmons called the fire and graffiti a hate crime.

Officials announced the reward and the investigators' conclusion that the fire was arson at the church, Greenwell Fire Chief Ruben Brown Sr. said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

The historically black Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Greenville, Mississippi was burned Tuesday night, and someone spray-painted "Vote Trump" in white on a wall that remained.

The FBI has been notified of the fire, according to The Clarion-Ledger.

An GoFundMe page aimed at restoring the church had raised $3,445 of its $10,000 goal in two hours. 

Here's how the church looked after the fire.

Can we help show the world, the country, and most importantly, the churchgoers of Hopewell Baptist that we, as a society, are better than this?
GoFundMe page

The GoFundMe page's creator reminded users of the fire that burned a North Carolina Republican Party field office. A Democrat led a fundraising effort that raised more than $12,000.

This is a direct assault on people's right to freely worship.
Errick Simmons

Greenville mayor Errick Simmons said the incident was being investigated as a  hate crime, according to Talking Points Memo

No suspect has been identified yet. 

Some said this pointed to some of the larger racial issues in the election.


The Associated Press contributed to this story. 

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