Black Land Preservation

Grant to Gilliard Farms and StrongRoots9: Brunswick, GA

The Reparations Project was privileged to grant $20,000 to Strong Roots 9 for the purchase of a shared community tractor. Strong Roots 9 was formed by Gullah Geechee CheFarmers Tia and Matthew Raiford, both graduates of The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, who now operate Matthew's family farm, Gilliard Farms, in Brunswick, Georgia. The Raifords have been farming with just a Cub Cadet Walk-behind tiller for the past years and were in need of larger equipment that will allow them to grow more rice and vegetables for the community and to produce more cut flowers and honey. The Raifords' mission is to engage our world to African American foodways, from historical and futuristic perspectives and actions.

Promised Land Farm Grant, Chatham County, GA

The Reparations Project was thrilled and honored to pay $15,000 in reparations, part of our larger initiative and reparations fund for descendant families in Port Wentworth, Georgia, to Bob and Bill Johnson, who own and operate Promised Land Farm. Promised Land is one of very few Black-owned farms in Chatham County, Georgia.

Lowcountry Gullah Grant for tax payments on HHI, SC

Gullah land encompasses an area, which has a federal designation, as the Gullah Geechee Corridor. For 400 years, the Gullah Geechee people lived along 79 coastal sea islands from North Carolina to Florida and roughly 35 miles inland. The Gullah culture is a culture that continues today, however, it is a culture that has begun to diminish over time and needs to be recognized for its cultural significance as well as its role in American history. The Corridor was established to do just that.

As a result of the land’s proximity to the coastline and being mostly sea islands, development, tourism and financial strains have taken its toll on the amount of land that the Gullah have been able to hold on to. For example, at one point on Hilton Head Island, over 3,500 acres were owned by Gullah families. Daily, that number is dwindling and at recent estimates, the number of acres still retained is less than 700.

According to a 2006 report, since the end of the Civil War, within the Gullah Geechee Corridor, Gullah families have lost more than 14 million acres of family property and only slightly more than 1 million acres that were purchased by former slaves has remained in family hands.

PAFEN Grant for tax payments in Chatham County, GA

The Reparations Project seeks to help prevent Black land loss where the needs are greatest in Beaufort County, SC and Chatham County, GA. We are currently collaborating with The Pan-African Family Empowerment & Land Preservation Network to provide funding to redeem properties for Gullah Geechee families on Hilton Head Island, just outside of Savannah, GA. Please watch this Soledad O’Brien episode about Gullah Geechee land on Hilton Head Island, featuring Theresa White of PAFEN.

Gullah Geechee History Museum, HHI, SC

The Gullah Museum of Hilton Head Island was established by Native Islander Louise Miller Cohen in 2003.​ The mission of the Gullah Museum of Hilton Head Island is to revive, restore and preserve the Hilton Head Island Gullah history for the benefit of all – lest we forget. The Gullah Museum of Hilton Head Island is a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization that was established in 2003 to preserve Gullah history, culture, customs, traditions, language, stories, songs and structures on Hilton Head Island. The museum has shown as a community catalyst for the providing context and understanding of Gullah culture’s influence on Hilton Head Island.

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” - Barack Obama