Hilton Head SC blocked community vote on plantation name change


A slim majority of the approximately 2,600 Hilton Head Plantation landowners who participated in a community-wide survey voted against removing the word ‘plantation’ from the name of the sprawling gated community, according to an email. sent to residents on Friday.

The email says that 52.84% of participating landowners, 1,378 properties, voted to keep the “plantation”. He reported that 33.55%, or 875 properties, had voted to remove the word from the community’s name, with the remaining 13.61% of respondents, or 355 properties, saying they needed to know more about the costs associated with changing before supporting either side.

About 61% of the approximately 4,278 properties in the gated community – the largest on Hilton Head Island – voted while the survey was opened in September. Each property has received a survey, according to the email.

The vote comes on the heels of Black Lives Matter protests across the country and calls from native Hilton Head islanders and activists for the island’s closed communities to remove the ‘plantation’ from their names, with some arguing that the nickname has been used as a marketing tool for communities.

The census tract covering the northern tip of Hilton Head, inside the Hilton Head plantation, is 99% white, according to the latest figures from the US Census Bureau.

At Hilton Head Plantation, a group of community members, HHP Community 4 Change, formed to advocate for a name change. The group pushed for a vote ahead of the regular 2021 resident survey to speed up the name change process.

General manager Peter Kristian told The Island Packet that changing the name of the community could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. He pointed to the neighborhood’s well-known brand that would change if a third of the name was deleted.

“For someone to wave their hand and say ‘change your name’ is not something that is taken lightly,” Kristian said in June. “(Plantation) was to denote a quiet way of life and to recognize the history of the land.”

Historic effort launched after the vote on the name of the “plantation”

The board of directors of the Hilton Head Plantation Homeowners Association voted unanimously to accept the results of the survey while acknowledging that many are “passionate about their feelings on both sides of this issue,” said the ‘E-mail.

The board said they heard from many landowners in the community and a resident’s suggestion stood out.

The owner wrote in part: ‘We believe the associated history should be learned – should not be deleted or rewritten… We also appreciate the sensitivities perceived by other people in the face of injustice or past injustices. the email said, citing the unnamed resident.

Community leaders authorized the establishment of a “historical committee” to “create a visible, physical and tangible historical perspective for the word ‘Plantation’ in relation to Hilton Head Island,” according to the e- mail.

Without specifically mentioning race, slavery or the dozens of plantations on the island that enslaved generations of Africans before the Civil War, the community-wide post said the planned exhibit would commemorate “The work and sacrifice of all families from generations past, making Hilton Head Plantation possible.

The committee will report to the board of directors with its recommendations, including the possibility of a gazebo in the Dolphin Head recreation area, which is historically part of the Myrtle Bank plantation property, the board said in the report. E-mail.

Where are the other closed communities?

Hilton Head Plantation was the last of three island communities to address the use of the word plantation in public signs and marketing materials.

Earlier this summer, Wexford removed the word from its sign on US 278.

Pictured is the entrance to Wexford on US 278, seen Tuesday July 7, 2020 on Hilton Head Island. On Monday July 6, 2020, the word “Plantation” painted in gold letters was covered in green paint after the community decided to remove the word from its name. The community will now be known as Wexford. Drawn Martin [email protected]

Although Palmetto Hall voters have not reached the threshold to legally change their community’s name, the homeowners association has said it will remove the word from its sign and marketing materials, citing a majority of votes expressed in favor of change.

Port Royal Plantation still uses the word in its legal name, but it is not on its official sign. But nearby, a green sign directs US 278 drivers to “Port Royal Plantation”.

a online petition launched in June to end the use of the word “plantation” to refer to closed communities and resorts has collected just over 10,500 signatures.

At Hilton Head Plantation, black residents spoke out in favor of the name change.

“Especially for whites, for those who think of history, they have to realize that they don’t really know the history,” said Bill Patterson, a resident of The Island Packet, in June.

“It was a traumatic experience, and we’re not that far from slavery. My great-grandfather was a slave, ”he said.

This story was originally published 3 October 2020 11:45 am.

Lucas Smolcic Larson joined The Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette as a projects reporter in 2019, after graduating from Brown University. Her work has won Rhode Island and South Carolina Press Association awards for educational and investigative reporting. He previously worked as an intern at the Washington Post and at the Investigative Reporting Workshop in Washington DC. Lucas is originally from central Pennsylvania and speaks Spanish and Portuguese.

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