BEAUFORT, SC (WTOC) – A private company in the Lowcountry has announced a $100,000 revolving fund to help landowners, including those descended from former slaves, keep their family lands for generations to come.
The history of Beaufort is linked to the fight against slavery.
“The Emancipation Proclamation was read off Ribaut Road and for the first time south of the Mason Dixon line, slaves were freed, and hundreds came by boat, on foot and on horseback to be on this site and win their freedom,” Councilor Mitch Mitchell said. noted.
The Gullah population descended from these liberated people remained strong.
“Ownership of land after slavery was key to our survival and this is especially true for the Gullah people on the island, as they were pretty much isolated and able to maintain this culture.” Mitchell said.
Maintaining land is difficult, especially when title to a house is split between relatives with few resources, making it difficult to do anything with the house except lose it.
“Finances are always a challenge because ownership of an heir, property that has been passed on without a will, it gets more complicated with each generation.” Mitchell said.
Dick Stewart says his company is stepping in to help, with a $100,000 revolving fund.
“Many heirs and families cannot do this because there are legal constraints on the nature of the heir’s assets and some cannot do this because they do not have the financial capacity to do it. We want to help in all these things. said Stewart.
Stewart plans to help people renovate homes like this, to help future generations of Gullah families.
Councilor Mitchell, who is himself a Gullah, appreciates the effort and financial assistance on behalf of his community.
Stewart says this project won’t just apply to heir estate assistance or the Gullahs, but he anticipates the majority of cases will and he looks forward to helping those families.
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