Governor Deval Patrick plans to meet today with a team of volunteers from California who are helping to rebuild the Springfield church that was destroyed by alleged racist arsonists protesting the election two years ago of President Obama, the nation’s first black president.
Patrick plans to meet and thank the volunteers, the fourth group to arrive in recent weeks, and to tour the rebuilding that has occurred since fire was set to the Macedonia Church of God in Christ just hours after Election Night in 2008, a spokeswoman said.
“Rebuilding Macedonia is a symbol of overcoming hate,” Patrick said. “What the congregation and these volunteers are accomplishing affirms what community is about -- understanding the stake each of us has in one another.”
Three people have been charged with crawling through the woods and into the window of the church, and torching it with gasoline to protest the election of a black president. The church has a predominantly black congregation, and the building was still being constructed and nearly complete.
Two defendants, Benjamin F. Haskell, 23, and Thomas A. Gleason Jr., 22, have plead guilty to arson in federal court and are awaiting sentencing. A third defendant, Michael F. Jacques, 25, is scheduled to go to trial.
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