African-Americans Struggling To Keep Land On St. Simons Island

Property values have skyrocketed on St. Simons Island, a popular resort destination on Georgia's coast, and developers are now pressuring the island's black residents to sell their landholdings.
December 22, 2001, 6am PST | Christian Madera | @cpmadera
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"Elouise Spears, 70, is sitting on a developer's dream: 21 acres of live oak-shaded waterfront high ground on St. Simons Island; property her family has owned in the island's historically black Harrington community since the Civil War. Tired of strangers knocking on her door with offers to buy her land, Spears recently posted a sign: "Don't Ask, Won't Sell." "I put the sign out because I don't want to be bothered again," said Spears, a retired registered nurse. "I've lived on St. Simons most of my life. If I do sell, where will I go?" Soaring property values have prompted realtors and developers to target St. Simons' three historically black communities where some of the island's last large landholdings are available for development. Like Spears, many other longtime black property owners have erected the "Don't Ask, Won't Sell" signs."

Thanks to Christian Peralta

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Published on Thursday, December 20, 2001 in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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