The NAACP called a string of fires at four historically black churches in Louisiana last week examples of “domestic terrorism” as federal agents investigate the blazes.

“What is happening in Tennessee and Louisiana is domestic terrorism and we must not turn a blind eye to any incident where people are targeted because of the color of their skin or their faith,” NAACP President Derrick Johnson said in a statement Monday.


“For decades, African American churches have served as the epicenter of survival and a symbol of hope for many in the African-American community. As a consequence, these houses of faith have historically been the targets of violence. The NAACP stands vigilant to ensure that authorities conduct full investigations,” he added.

The fires at the three historically black Baptist churches in St. Landry Parish near Baton Rouge occurred on Tuesday, March 26, and last Thursday. Authorities said the fires were “suspicious” and that a fourth, smaller blaze was “intentionally set” at a black church on March 31 three hours north in Caddo Parish. 

All the churches were vacant when the fires were set, and no suspects are in custody. The churches’ pastors said each of the buildings were over 100 years old. 

“There is clearly something happening in this community,” Louisiana Fire Marshal H. "Butch" Browning said in a statement Thursday. “That is why it is imperative that the citizens of this community be part of our effort to figure out what it is.”