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Abstract

The legacy of Black land ownership and cultural autonomy is not a well-known narrative of Black history in the United States, which is reflected in the dearth of material addressing these legacies. This history presents a narrative of Black rural life in the United States that offers rural social work professionals another framework to understand the legacies of fictive kin and collective values often overlooked when engaging Black families and communities. Gullah/Geechee families represent a narrative of Black life in the United States that reflects the power of being left with opportunities to develop a culture and tradition of collective land ownership. This exploration addressed how the relationships of Gullah/Geechee families on St. Helena Island, South Carolina are changing due to shifts in how the state defines familial land rights. Drawing on a blend of ethnographic and archival research along with interviews conducted over a three-year period, this article will address how the cultural and familial legacies of Gullah/Geechee reflect a history of resilience that continues to present itself in narratives of Black families in the United States beyond the Sea Islands.

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