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Once you’ve taken a left turn at Landing Road from Highway 99 southbound, roll down your car windows. As you drive east toward the Sapelo Island Visitors Center near Darien, you’ll pass beneath arching oak branches draped in long, lingering Spanish moss, and you’ll begin to notice a different kind of breeze—the rare sort of air that fills lungs with wistful history. But a fog of encroachment is making the future murky for the island’s Hog Hammock community.
Many of the dozen or so islands that make up the Georgia coast are notoriously inaccessible. Most, in fact, are reachable only by ferry or charter boat. Of course, that very remoteness has preserved 100 miles of relatively natural landscape, unmatched along the Eastern Seaboard. Now, researchers and students at Emory University’s departments of environmental sciences and history and its Center for Digital Scholarship (best known for its decades-long effort to document voyages of enslaved people) are creating an online portal, open to the public, that allows anyone to visit the islands virtually. The rapidly expanding Georgia Coast Atlas features flyover footage, video interviews, informative articles, historical documents, annotated maps, and other resources.
Sapelo Island—its residents and wildlife—could be in danger as ocean waters continue to rise. The University of Georgia's Small Satellite Research Lab will launch a satellite roughly 250 miles above Earth that will paint a clear picture of the coming threat.
Cornelia Walker Bailey knew Sapelo Island’s history and was determined to get it straight. As the unofficial griot (a West African term for a historian or storyteller) of Hog Hammock, the last remaining of the original African American communities founded by the island’s population of freed slaves and their descendants, she taught it every chance she got.
Atlanta Must Reads for the Week: Sacred Harp singers, Sapelo Island sugarcane, and a battle with a deadly superbug
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