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How Gullah Geechee families are losing their land and their wealth in tax delinquent auctions

In Hilton Head, South Carolina, Gullah Geechee families are fighting to save their ancestral land before it’s gobbled up by investors at the annual tax auction.

About this episode:

With its luxury resorts and golf courses, Hilton Head, South Carolina, is a popular vacation hotspot. But the island is also home to the Gullah Geechee; descendants of formerly enslaved West Africans who have owned land on the island since their ancestors were freed.

However, every year Gullah Geechee families are in danger of losing their land to investors at Beaufort County's tax auction. If a family falls behind on its property taxes, the land goes up for auction; and that can happen for as little as a few-hundred dollars in back-taxes.

On this episode of Into America, Trymaine Lee speaks with Marine Corp veteran Joseph Walters Jr, who has come close to losing his land two years in a row. And Trymaine talks with members of the Gullah Geechee community who are trying to stop this cycle: Marshview Community Organic Farms owner Sará Reynolds Green, and Pan African Family Empowerment & Land Preservation Network founder Theresa White. Green and White are both part of a network of Gullah advocates raising awareness (and funds) to help people hold onto their land, and the culture that comes with it.

Thoughts? Feedback? Story ideas? Write to us at intoamerica@nbcuni.com.

Find the transcript here.

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