Been trying to tell people that the South is changing and much of it is disappearing forever especially life and heritage of our people to be forgotten because it doesnt meet the current NEEDS. Using culture as a commodity of VALUE to those on the outside sounds familiar to the current culture of MUSIC. Namely HIP-HOP. But my question is it worth saving if YOU DONT ACTUALLY LIVE IT? ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Spoleto organizers hope to help save community's heritage Associated Press CHARLESTON, S.C. - A funeral party recently traveled by ferry to the Sapelo Island, a remote barrier island along the Georgia coast, with a few artists and several members of a rural Mount Pleasant-area community on board as guests. The trip earlier this month was organized by officials with Spoleto Festival USA. The island was presented to members of the Phillips community as an example of a Gullah community that is working to preserve its cultural heritage. "This is providing a lot of leadership in South Carolina because we haven't always done a good job dealing with different aspects of our history, dealing with race, dealing with class," said curator Mary Jane Jacob, one of the leaders of the "Evoking History" project. "All of this is our history. It's the area's story." Kendra Hamilton, a writer who grew up in Charleston but now lives in Charlottesville, Va., helped organize the trip. Hamilton and Jacob hope it will lead to an arts movement to help preserve culture in the face of development. Members of The Phillips community, a rural settlement area outside Mount Pleasant founded 120 years ago by black farmers, artisans and businessmen, are participating, but it is not clear how much help Spoleto will be able to provide. The once-rural neighborhood is now surrounded by the town of Mount Pleasant and new subdivisions. Walter Hood, a professor of landscape architecture at the University of California-Berkeley, said the neighborhood retains its historical layout, with narrow lots along Horlbeck Creek, resembling English land planning. But development is creeping closer. Phillips resident Ulanda Scott, who made the trip to Sapelo, said she is worried about her parents, who still live in Phillips. "Taxes are skyrocketing. I'm afraid my mother and father won't be able to afford to stay when they have lived here forever," Scott said. "We'd like to hold on to what we have." Another Phillips resident, Richard Habersham, said the community needs a cultural center to preserve and promote its history. Habersham and others are hoping Spoleto will help build one. The trip, through several Gullah communities in Georgia and Florida, was intended to show Phillips residents that others facing similar development threats have responded, but in different ways. Habersham said the festival has good intentions but is moving slowly. "This community doesn't have the time," he said. Maurice Bailey, who led the group's tour of Sapelo Island, describe the community as a forgotten place. Bailey said the island's isolation - it is accessible only by boat - used to be a blessing because it preserved the Gullah mix of African, Caribbean and American influences. But now Bailey says the community could benefit from more awareness. "We've lost a lot of people. We've lost a lot of land. We're trying to get some land back from the state of Georgia, but it's been a battle," he said. "Our kids are not going to stay on the island because there are no jobs on the island." Wilson Moran showed the group around the former site of the Harris Neck community in Georgia. The federal government seized the land during World War II to build airstrips. After the war, the property was turned into a wildlife refuge. "Now they say us coming back here would destroy the wildlife," Moran said. "It takes us an act of Congress to get the land back to the people who owned the land in the first place." Jacob said the trip could help reveal answers for residents and the artists. "I do consider this part of our artistic process," she said. "It may even be a work of art." On June 10, the festival will host a discussion about preserving culture in the face of development. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Congress, the state, local government so what, businessmen and women dont seem to care. And they are and considered the ULTIMATE decision-makers. Has anything changed, I thought we lived in a DEMOCRACY that cares about the needs of the PEOPLE. High taxes on property owned by PEOPLE is very CONCERNING indeed.