Property owners in Georgia community of slave descendants allege neglect, discrimination

Residents and property owners in one of the few remaining Gullah-Geechee communities of slave descendants on the Southeast coast are suing a variety of state and county agencies, accusing them of discrimination and neglect.

The lawsuit alleges landowners on Sapelo Island, along Georgia's coast about 68 miles south of Savannah, pay high property taxes while receiving few basic services from surrounding McIntosh County or the state of Georgia. They say that's making it nearly impossible for them to live there and is destroying their community.

Attorney Reed Colfax said he filed the lawsuit Wednesday in federal court in Atlanta.

The Gullah-Geechee culture is made up of slave descendants long isolated from the U.S. mainland and has clung to it African roots and traditions. Hogg Hummock, also known as Hog Hammock, is one of the last such communities from North Carolina to Florida.