Fifty-seven Sapelo Island property owners and other residents and two community organizations – Help Org Inc. and Raccoon Hogg Community Development Corporation – filed on December 9, 2015 a federal race discrimination lawsuit against McIntosh County, the state of Georgia, and the Sapelo Island Heritage Authority (SIHA). The families are descendants of Gullah-Geechee slaves who lived on the Georgia barrier island as far back as the 18th century. The lawsuit alleges that the county, state, and SIHA are engaged in a policy designed to make plaintiffs’ lives so uncomfortable that they abandon their homes and their land. “These actions are destroying the last intact Gullah-Geechee community in the country,” said Reed Colfax, the plaintiffs’ attorney and a partner in the civil rights law firm, Relman, Dane & Colfax, PLLC. “The county and state are depriving our clients of basic municipal services, limiting their access to their lands. In addition, the county tried to dramatically increase their taxes in an effort to force them off Sapelo Island, which their families have known as home for generations.” 

Jump to Page