Prior to the establishment of the Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, a small Gullah/Geechee community occupied the lands. In 1942, 75 African American families were displaced by the federal government via eminent domain. Since 1979, descendants of the families have sought for the return of lands that were once owned by their ancestors and the original Harris Neck community -- 2,400 acres. Over the years, various attempts to find a mutually agreeable path forward have failed.
In 2020, the Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) and the Direct Descendants of Harris Neck Community (DDHNC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), and formalized a commitment to mutually agreeable collaboration between the two parties. The FWS has been working together with DDHNC to redefine their relationship, and in partnership, regenerate cultural connections to NWR lands and reconnect descendants with their ancestral histories.
Our event commemorates the 1942 Harris Neck Community Diaspora and this year will be the 80th anniversary of the Diaspora. The event honors the ancestors whom inhabited the Original Harris Neck Community. We hope this event will educate people about Harris Neck but also inspire people to learn about the history of places significant to them.
Date & time:
July 24, 2022 - July 27, 2022
First African Baptist Church Harris Neck