Sandridge, conway road

A Black South Carolina Community Is In Jeopardy Of Being Destroyed By Highway Development Project

Bobbie Anne Hemingway Jordan, 82, was born in Sandridge, South Carolina, a small majority-Black community. Now, the homes of Jordan and other residents of Sandridge are in jeopardy of being destroyed in order to build the Conway Perimeter Road. According to The Guardian, the project is expected to result in a four-lane road that connects two highways to shorten the travel time for people traveling to a nearby beach. 

A community rich in history and occupied by a majority of Black and elderly people, Sandridge is home to one of the first Black-owned grocery stores in South Carolina. 

Jordan, who has lived in her home since she was born, reminisced about the time she has spent there and her grandkids running back and forth to a next-door park. “I thought it would be left to my children, and they could leave it to their children,” she said.

In 2021, she received an appraisal for her home that would only allow her to afford a one-bedroom apartment nearby. Jordan moved out in April 2023. “I didn’t think I’d ever have to leave that land,” she said.

Rev. Cedric Blain-Spain, who has been actively campaigning against the project since 2019, said, “They are destroying everything that was given to us […] by our parents and foreparents, who just wanted to give us a community, to give us a place to call home. Our legacy, it means nothing to them.”

Not only would the project demolish six homes, it would also increase the difficulty for residents to travel within the neighborhood, such as going to grocery stores or church. While Black residents will be affected, white, newly developed neighborhoods will be nearly untouched by the construction. 

The Biden administration has made plans to fund the remediation of communities affected by highway development projects. 

According to Julian Agyeman, an urban planner and professor at Tufts University, highway construction has disproportionately affected Black communities and is used as a device to divide those communities. “These highways were not accidents,” he said. “Urban planning is the spatial toolkit of racial segregation.”

The South Carolina chapter of the NAACP has filed a Title VI complaint attesting that the state and county have violated the civil rights of Black residents.