The film documented the plans that the Town of Mount Pleasant in Charleston County, SC in the Gullah/Geechee Nation had to continue massive destructionment which would bring in more people and more traffic. The more traffic that comes to that area, the more they begin to widen roads. Numerous Gullah/Geechees lost their sweetgrass basket stands which contributed to their economic stability and some also lost their homes due to this. Fortunately, during the planning for the last widening, the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition was asked to be a part of a cadre of organizations and individuals that helped to keep the project from destroying a historic burial area and church on Highway 17.
Once again, the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition is partnering with the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League and also with Charleston Moves to protect the Gullah/Geechees of Mt. Pleasant, SC. Unfortunately, the roadway plans depicted in the documentary are now slated to take place. If they are to go forward, Highway 41 would run straight through Phillips and there wouldn’t be any sound barriers to stop the further disruption of the quality of life for the native Gullah/Geechees on family compounds in Phillips and Seven Mile. This would further lower the quality of life for the folks that are able to continue to stay on the property that would remain after the highway is directed through it. The others will have to figure out where they will live since they will be displaced.
The Highway 41 “Improvement Plan” that has been presented includes a number of options. The best option would be NO ACTION. However, instead of that, Option 1 is to proceed with widening Highway 41 through these historic Gullah/Geechee areas that are “freedmen’s villages.” The rationale for this is that if they take the highway through Dunes West which is a suburbanized residential area, it will cost $30 Million more than displacing the native Gullah/Geechees who are largely on heirs property. There is no mitigation plan that will prevent the permanent harm to the Gullah/Geechee Nation and our citizens of Mt. Pleasant. There is no dollar amount that can measure the heartache and stress that comes to our people collectively when any family is displaced much less to have entire communities displaced.
Apparently, the Highway 41 plan is being pushed due to projected growth from destructionment projects heading to Cainhoy. Cainhoy is currently said to be listed as one of the most impoverished tracts on the last census for Charleston County. So, if that is the case, it is obvious that there are additional plans to build in that area which will cause more negative impacts on the native Gullah/Geechees that are in Cainhoy because many of them that currently own homes will be taxed out. So, it appears that this is all a continuing plan to not simply gentrify the entirety of Mt. Pleasant and the surrounding area, but to insure the removal of the Gullah/Geechees that are located there.
You can obtain more details on the project and also add comments on it until September 11th at http://www.hwy41sc.com/#popup1. That date is one that already brings to mind tragedy and we do not want to add another tragedy and travesty to the historical record of that date. Instead, we need that to be the day that causes a reversal of the current decision to choose an alternative for this highway project that will rob the Gullah/Geechee Nation of additional communities. E tru ain no place likka home, so we hafa hep de binya wha dey dey een Phillips and Seven Mile fa stay pun e land! Hep we tek disya stand!