(USA TODAY) - Nearly two years to the day his mother was murdered by a white supremacist in a Charleston church, Chris Singleton saw his dream of playing professional baseball realized when he was drafted by the Chicago Cubs with the final pick in the 19th round Wednesday.
Singleton, 20, an outfielder at Charleston Southern University, lost his mother on June 15, 2015, when Dylann Roof walked into Emanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston, S.C. and opened fire, killing nine and wounding three others.
Among the deceased was Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45, who had taught Chris at Goose Creek High School and also was a pastor.
Dylann Roof was eventually convicted 33 federal hate crime charges and acknowledged he was hoping to incite a race war.
Singleton, a center fielder, pressed on with his baseball career and this season batted .276 with four home runs for Charleston Southern, while also serving as the lone parental figure for his younger siblings, Camryn and Caleb.
A day after the shootings in 2015, Singleton addressed a crowd of around 100 well-wishers and news media, and was asked what message he would pass on to the world.
“I just say, love is always stronger than hate,” Singleton said. “If we just love the way my mom would, then the hate won’t be nearly as strong as the love is.”
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