St. Simons African American Heritage Coalition
The St. Simons African-American Heritage Coalition originated on October 11, 2000, at the First African Baptist Church of St. Simons Island, Georgia. This meeting consisted of concerned citizens and property owners who lived on St. Simons, including representatives from the various Island neighborhoods. This group of concerned citizens saw a great need for something to be done about stopping and/or slowing down the threat of encroachment by developers. It's been known for many years that the Island has been losing its African American heritage in value of land and the African American population was decreasing. The African American areas on St. Simons at this time are being invaded by new construction sites and many of our historical homes and buildings are being destroyed because of the new developments in these areas. What is happening on the Island affects the entire remaining population of African Americans who are currently living on the Island, and/or currently retaining property on the Island. Many people feel that they are being pushed out due to the escalating property taxes caused by the new construction. These great changes in the communities have affected the entire community both young and old. These few citizens came together because of such a strong conviction that something must be done to combat the elements that are destroying the area. They decided at that first meeting that the changes must begin with each of them by trying to retain their property and by educating other African American about the importance of not selling out on their heritage. They were willing to come together - take a stand - and work for the betterment of the community as a whole. During that time the group formed the community-based organization focusing on three elements for improvements to the African American communities on St. Simons: preserving, educating and revitalizing the St. Simons Island African American Communities.