"After Florence, the Gullah Could Face New Threats"

"Thousands of acres throughout the flooded Carolinas are heir’s property, a form of land ownership that leaves residents vulnerable to speculators."

"On Monday, Sheldon Scott flew from his home in Washington, D.C., to Pawleys Island, South Carolina, where his mother and sister live. He was on an evacuation mission: With Hurricane Florence bearing in, he needed to get his family members to safety.

The decision to leave the island was not easy. “It’s the only home my mom has ever known,” Scott, an artist and performer, said by phone from D.C., where his family is now, too.

Pawleys Island is a narrow, 4-mile long barrier island south of Myrtle Beach, connected to the mainland by a pair of causeways. The land where Scott’s mom lives, on the mainland side, was part of the rice plantation where their family members were enslaved more than 150 years ago, he said.* Her mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great-grandmother all lived there—and generations before that, too. That’s the story of the Gullah/Geechee nation, an estimated 200,000 people living on the barrier islands of the Carolina, Georgia, and Florida coast. They carry on a distinct culture rooted in West Africa, where many of their ancestors were enslaved by British traders in the colonial era."

Laura Bliss reports for CityLab September 15, 2018.

Source: CityLab, 09/19/2018