The Plight of Sapelo

Help Save Sapelo and Support Black Land Matters

"Can you name your great-great-great-great-great grandfather who lived in West Africa in the year 1760?  Can you picture him as a young man, learning to write in Arabic before he was enslaved?  I can.  His name was Bilali Muhammad.  Before his abduction he lived in the city of Timbo in West Africa, what is now part of Guinea.  Bilali’s granddaughter was my great-great-great grandmother, Cotto Hillery Grovner, and her husband (my great-great-great grandfather) John, was among the first deeded Black landowners in the United States. His land is now under attack, and I need your help to save it. 

My Gullah Geechee, ancestors, all of them freed slaves, bought over 1,200 acres of land on Georgia’s Sapelo Island within 20 years after slavery in America was abolished.  We built churches; we fished; we planted rice, red peas, and okra; we raised livestock; and we built entirely self-reliant communities on Sapelo and other Atlantic coast islands. That same land is still legally owned by us, the direct descendants of the courageous freed slaves that hungered for land and self-reliance. Sapelo Island, today, is the last remaining intact Gullah Geechee sea island slave descendant community in America.  Our precious community -- our direct linkage to Africa -- is under constant attack by powerful forces, both private and public, that for the last 108 years have threatened our community and our Gullah Geechee way of life on Sapelo Island."

-JR Grovner

Help us tell the State of Georgia that Black Land Matters. 100% of your contributions will help us continue our fight to rightfully reclaim and repopulate Sapelo Island, a land we love.

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