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Burning Spear News

Africans on the Geechie Islands struggle for self-determination

Jan 3, 2017
Nkashama Sankofa

Africans who live on the Gullah or Geechie Islands are being forcibly removed from their homes by crooked colonial politicians and parasitic capitalists in favor of hotels resorts and golf courses.

These Africans­––known as Geechie people by many­­––are the descendants of Africans from West and Central Africa who were enslaved and forced to work on the rice and indigo plantations on the islands off the coast of South Carolina, Georgia and northeast Florida during slavery.

Their isolated location on these islands have sheltered them from much of the outside colonial influences. This allowed them to preserve much of our African culture through language, food, music and spirituality.

The Africans on the Geechie Islands are in danger as they are under attack by money and land-grabbing corporations with the aid of the colonial State.

The struggle is to keep the remaining islands from becoming like Hilton Head, SC and St. Simon's Island, SC which used to be the home to generations of Africans but is now a vacation spot with hotels, condos and resorts.

African people around the world must stand with our sisters and brothers and fight colonialism tooth and nail to prevent their displacement.

Oppression, legal loopholes and lies.

One African, Cornelia Bailey, said to Al Jazeera, “We will disappear in golf courses and condos. We will disappear under the dollars and cents."

The government is placing illegal and illegitimate taxes on Africans on the islands in order to force them out of their homes and communities.


It is clear to the African People's Socialist Party (APSP) that any tax put on Africans by the U.S. is an illegal tax.

The Africans on the Islands are being taxed for different reason in different parts of the area, however the Africans on one particular island known as Plantersville are being taxed for something that most of them have no need for––a sewer system.

The Africans there mostly have their own septic team tanks but that didn't stop Ray Cagnon, the CEO of Georgetown Water and Sewer District from installing sewers in Plantersville, SC and sneaking in an annual sewer tax for residents to pay or get put out.

Ray Cagnon told the BBC his decision was made for sanitation purposes yet most of the homes have fully functional septic tanks and insist that they don't want or need the sewer.

The Georgetown Water and Sewer District got the cooperation of petty bourgeoisie Africans to sell out the Africans on the Geechie Islands.

He also told the BBC, "It [the sewer] also had the backing of church leaders and county councilors, as well as the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People [NAACP], which said residents badly needed access to good sanitation."

Rev Ben Grate, a lifelong resident, told the BBC that "the Gullah residents are the victims of racial discrimination, because Plantersville's white residents did not have to hook up to the system."

Sapelo Island, GA residents are being burdened with property taxes that have jumped ridiculously higher than normal.

Annie Watts, 73, still owns the three-room house with a tin roof that she grew up in. She paid $362 dollars in property taxes last year for the one acre she lives on. This year, McIntosh County wants $2312, a jump of nearly 540 percent according to The New York Times.

The community relations division of the Justice Department held two meetings in July with members of the communities on the Geechie Islands.

The chief tax appraiser for Sapelo Island, Rick Daniel, the department spokesperson nor the other elected county officials would comment but Brett Cook, who manages the county and its only city, Darien, told The New York Times that local government does a lot to support the Geechee culture.

“It’s a wonderful history and a huge draw for our ecotourism,” he said.

The U.S. exploitation of African culture

City and county manager Brett Cook's statement about the Africans on the Geechie Islands being a huge draw for South Carolina's ecotourism is typical of a colonial and parasitic capitalist's stance when it comes to the existence and self-determination of African people. 

As said by APSP's Chairman Omali Yeshitela, we are seen as the "objects of history and not subjects."

The Africans on the Geechie Islands are expected to allow their land to be taken and become marginalized into a historical footnote or a novelty for whites to visit and gawk over as tourists.

Land and power are almost synonymous. White people eating African food and dancing to African drums and ring shouts [a traditional way of singing and dancing in a circle] cannot replace African people’s ability to be independent and self-determined. Its absolutely insulting.

Colonialism is a vicious system that bends and breaks its own rules to suit its own needs. These taxes are only a convenient excuse and is not the bigger contradiction.

The bigger contradiction is that colonialism takes our money and resources as taxes when the U.S. government still owe reparations to Africans.

The only Africans in the U.S. who have been lucky enough to preserve a slight sense of sovereignty against colonial attack are now in under assault and danger of losing their homes, communities and culture to white power oppression.

Colonialism has already committed the biggest crime against us Africans when we were stolen and forcibly dispersed all over the planet Earth, and brutally enslaved by the colonizers.

The theft of the communities on the Geechie Islands is rubbing salt in our wounds.

Long live the African Nation!

Forward the Struggle for African Self-Determination!



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