45. Cornelia Bailey, Sapelo Island

Cornelia Bailey
Photograph by Patrick Heagney

Photograph by Patrick Heagney

Cornelia Bailey is a storyteller, activist, author, and business owner, but she’s perhaps best known for being a member of the last generation of African Americans to have been born (in 1945) and raised on Sapelo Island, which today is primarily owned and run as a nature preserve by the state. Bailey lives in Hog Hammock, a small section that remains independent, and helps preserve the local Geechee culture, which combines Christian and Islamic beliefs with traditions of West African slaves.

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This article originally appeared in our May 2015 issue.