The “Black Folks Land Legacy Conference” is an interactive three day session on historic St. Helena Island, SC in the Gullah/Geechee Nation which is a predominately Gullah/Geechee owned and operated Sea Island. This was the place in which the “Port Royal Experiment” was staged and where the Freedmen’s Bureau set up to do land auctions during the United States Civil War. This was the staging ground for what many scholars say was never completed-the Reconstruction Era.
St. Helena Islanders have owned their property which some would call part of “Sherman’s Reservation” based on Special Field Order Number 15 since the 1860s while the Civil War raged on. As a result, many believe that Gullah/Geeches received their “40 acres and a mule.” This conference will dispel the myths of “40 acres and a mule” and tell the story of Black land ownership, self-sufficiency, and subsistence which has led to a consistent battle to protect Black landownership not only within the Gullah/Geechee Nation, but throughout the Black belt/Bible belt south and further points of not only the Gullah/Geechee Diaspora, but the African Diaspora. The on-slaught of land grabs and displacement have been happening using a myriad of tactics. Presenters will address the tools that are being successfully used to fight back and retain, maintain, and reclaim lands that Black people have toiled for generations.
Sessions will include: • 40 Acres and a Mule • The Tunis Campbell Panel on Land Rights: Protecting and Maintaining Heirs Property • The Dr. Y N Kly Human Rights Forum • The Clementa Pinckney Preservation Panel • The Mavynee Betsch Environental Justice Circle • The Ernestine Tobias Felder Food Security Circle • The Willis T. Goodwin Environment and Economic Empowerment Panel * Gullah/Geechee Sustainability Think Tank • Gullah/Geechee SEA & ME Climate Change Action Circle
In addition to these interactive sessions at the landmark St. Helena Branch Library there will be an ancestral tribute, De Gullah Root Experience Tour of historic St. Helena Island, SC and a Dayclean Journeys field trip to Georgia where the meeting of 20 Black preachers set in motion Black land ownership in the region. Participants of the conference are encouraged to worship with the Gullah/Geechee community before departing on Sunday.
Registration for the event is limited. Hunnuh hafa regista now fa mek sho hunnuh dey dey wid we fa hol pun de land! Gwine ta