Black residents have homes sold from under them in South Carolina

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Residents of Jackson Village, one of three black communities in Plantersville, South Carolina, are at risk of losing their homes over a sewer service charge that they neither want nor need, with twenty homes being put on the market last week.

What makes this sudden loss of land even more upsetting for those who live there is the fact that they are descendants of former slaves, called the Gullah Geechee, who all inherited or bought land on a former rice plantation and have lived there for generations.

But now, that land is threatened by developers looking for plantation and coastal land, reports the BBC News.

–Black homeownership lower today than national rate during Great Recession–

“They had sold everything, the property, the house and all and when I offered to pay them with a cheque, they told me I couldn’t. I had to get cash money – 880 some dollars that I had to pay them to get my place back,” said Lillian Milton, who didn’t even know that her home had been sold until she arrived at a South Carolina council office in order to settle her tax bill.

Milton apparently owed $250 for sewer service, which surprised her, because she was not even connected to the sewer system at the time.

“It’s like they were saying if I didn’t get on the system I wouldn’t have no place to stay.”

“The only people we see are the developers,” said. Rev Ben Grate. “We call them ‘strangers’ and we are afraid of them. Because they come to take your land. They are millionaires, in big cars, driving slow, staking out property, dreaming on what it would be like to have a motel on the river right here.”

“We fear losing our home, our land and our tradition and our way of life,” Grate later added. “That is all at stake here because where do we go from here? We would be back into slavery. We feel that the same thing happened to the slaves when they were coming over. They stripped them of their land and their homes and their way of life.”