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Sapelo Island Cultural and Revitalization
Society, Inc. (SICARS)

Sweetgrass Basket WeavingSICARS is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation whose mission is to preserve and revitalize the Hogg Hummock Community which is located on Sapelo Island, Georgia.

SICARS SICARS was founded in 1993 by Hogg Hummock resident and non-resident descendants who wanted to enhance the future of their community by educating all visitors to the island about the history. There will be increased awareness that Sapelo has existed as an African community for more than 208 years.

Hogg Hummock is the last intact Geechee/Gullah Community in the Sea Islands of Georgia and is comprised of direct descendants of slaves that were brought to Sapelo in 1802. Geechee/Gullah * people still maintain many elements of the unique West African culture, language, and traditions brought over from the "Rice Coast" many other of their ancestors continued on to the isolated Sea Islands from South Carolina to Northern Florida.

*Geechee is from the Kissi Tribe in West Africa (pronounced Geezee).

The Reality
96% of the island surrounding Hogg Hummock is owned by the state and cannot be purchased for development. This, coupled with the limited access to the community on the island (ferry or private boat), creates an environment that makes community members (who have called Sapelo home for many generations) subject to stress and fracturing from land loss, speculative developers, racism, and lack of job opportunities.


SICARS Initiatives

Community Education
SICARS believes that our community can take responsibility for our future only to the extent that we can develop an accountable, culturally educated, and well-informed membership.

Land Use and Community Planning
SICARS purpose is to address systemic threats to the survival of the community through land retention strategies, land use planning, and policy reform. These threats include tax and government planning agendas that directly affect our community and encourage or directly create the loss of descendant-owned land. A Community Land Trust has been developed and implemented by SICARS.

Sustainable Economic Development
The human community within our rural and resource-dependent environment holds the key to environmental growth and development. The challenge for SICARS and Hogg Hummock is to redirect today's economy both to sustain the environment and culture, and to position those descendants trapped in the economic bottom to take advantage of opportunities presented by our ever changing economic trends.

New SICARS Multi-Use Facilities Building

SICARS' New Multi-Use Facility Building [more photos]


Current Projects

  • Documentation and maintenance of Behavior Cemetery, the Geechee/Gullah community's 200 year-old cemetery

  • Development of a Cultural Interpretive Village where Geechee/Gullah history, lore, and crafts will be demonstrated

  • Implementation of Hogg Hummock Community Land Use Plan

  • Promotion of cultural tourism events organized to educate the public about our Geechee Culture and also as fund raising activities

  • Publication of the SICARS newsletter.

Progress to Date

SICARS has developed a land-use plan, completed restoration of the Raccoon Bluff Church, built a Multi-use facility building for SICARS, implemented a Community Land Trust to hold and protect land for our Geechee/Gullah Community. SICARS has made valuable contacts, completed the restoration of the Farmers Alliance Hall building, added bathroom facilities to the Culture Day site, added on-site covered parking and storage, and significant progress toward out mission. We have completed the Feasibility Study for the Cultural Village and are starting to develop the architectural drawings. As a community, we have maintained ownership of our land for over 130 years despite great obstacles in our way. While it is important to look at our success, it is also important to look toward the future and implement solutions to long-standing problems.

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First African Baptist Church - Raccoon Bluff
(before and after)

(MORE PHOTOS HERE)


SICARS Board Members

BOARD PRESIDENT
Charles Hall

Retired Lt. Col. U.S. Air Force Reserve. Owned chain of physical therapy clinics in Ohio. Lives on Sapelo Island and Hilton Head, S.C.
Local Cell: (912) 485-2249
Email: charleshall210@yahoo.com
Home: (843) 671-4682
SC Cell: (843) 422-2678
Address: 115 Club Course Drive
Hilton Head, SC, 29928

BOARD VICE PRESIDENT
Ulysses Simpkins, Jr.

Retired educator, South Carolina School System.
Cell: (912) 224-4584
Home: (912) 920-2268
Address: 101 St. George Blvd. 9-C
Savannah, GA, 31419

BOARD SECRETARY
Gracie L. Chandler
Retired teacher/school media specialist who lives in Jacksonville, Fla.
Member of Bethel Baptist Institutional Church.
Cell: (904) 620-0999
Email: GChan10@aol.com
Address: 10901 Burnt Mill Road Unit 1201
Jacksonville, FL, 32256

BOARD MEMBER
Karen Grovner Hillery

Medical billing/insurance specialist. Superintendent of Sunday School at First African Baptist Church, Sapelo Island.
Home: (912) 638-1903
Office: (912) 264-5768
Address: 1002 Mallory Street
St. Simons, Island, GA, 31522

BOARD MEMBER
Edna Laverne Holmes Clarke

Customer Service Manager for the City of Brunswick. Daughter of descendant Eldora Cabral.
Home: (912) 264-4168
Address: 303 Deerfield Drive
Brunswick, GA, 31525

BOARD MEMBER
Cornelia Walker Bailey

Sapelo Island historian, storyteller and business owner. Author of memoir God, Dr. Buzzard and the Bolito Man and Sapelo Voices .
Home: (912) 485-2206
Address: P.O. Box 34
Sapelo Island, GA, 31327

BOARD MEMBER
Lloyd Newberry

Phone: (912) 832-4629
Address: (1796 Julienton Road N.E.
Townsend, GA, 31331

BOARD MEMBER
William T. (BILL) Thomas

Cell: (679) 936-8148
Home: (404) 660-4075
Email: billywork@aol.com
Address: 5069 Oak Farm Way
Flowery Branch, GA, 30542

BOARD MEMBER
Inez Grovner

Phone: (912) 485-2186
Address: 541 Nottingham Avenue
Brunswick, GA, 31525

BOARD MEMBER
R. Gene Grovner Jr.

Cell: (912) 506-6463
Home: (912) 625-0057

BOARD MEMBER
Nathaniel Gilbert

Phone: (912) 437-4123
Address: 1000 C.A. Devillars Street
Darien, GA, 31305

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