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Zoning Changes On Sapelo Island Threaten Georgia Slave Descendants In Georgia

Descendants of enslaved individuals on Georgia's Sapelo Island are fighting against zoning changes they believe favor wealthy buyers, potentially forcing them to sell their ancestral land. The predominantly Black community fears this will hasten the decline of one of the South's few surviving Gullah-Geechee communities.

Hogg Hummock community Black residents on Sapelo Island packed a meeting over potential tax increases due to the zoning measures. Commissioners eventually voted 3-2 to weaken zoning restrictions the county adopted nearly three decades ago to help Hummock's 30 to 50 residents hold on to their land.

Recently, commissioners increased the maximum home size in Hogg Hummock to 3,000 square feet of total enclosed space, up from the previous limit of 1,400 square feet of heated and air-conditioned space.

Residents of the island have been dealing with the local government for years as they've had to fight the county for basic services such as fire fighting equipment and trash collection.

"We're still fighting all the time," said Maurice Bailey, a Hogg Hummock native whose mother, Cornelia Bailey, was a celebrated storyteller and one of Sapelo Island's most prominent voices before her death in 2017. "They're not going to stop. The people moving in don't respect us as people. They love our food, they love our culture. But they don't love us."

While Hogg Hummock secured a spot on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996, the responsibility for safeguarding the community falls upon the local government in McIntosh County, which comprises 65% of the area's 11,100 residents and where most residents are white.

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Link: Fox News


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