Josephine Wright

Josephine Wright’s Family Wins Legal Battle Over Her Hilton Head Property

Wright's land was purchased by a formerly enslaved family member and passed down for generations.

The family of Josephine Wright has won the right to keep the land that has been in her family since Civil War times.  

Wright, who died in January at age 94, spent the last years of her life fighting to keep her property in Hilton Head Island, which is located in the Geechee Gullah Corridor. Her story garnered worldwide media attention as well as public support from celebrities including Tyler Perry and Snoop Dogg. 

Bailey Point Investment, the company that owns the land neighboring Wright’s property, sued the elderly woman last year on claims of encroachment. The company is in the process of building a 29-acre subdivision around Wright’s property. Bailey Point Investment said that Wright’s satellite dish, shed, and screened porch trespassed on its land, which “significantly delayed and hindered” development, The New York Times reported.

The settlement concluded that the Wright family owned the property that sits in the middle of Bailey Point Investment’s development. According to family spokesperson Altimese Nicole, the settlement states that Bailey Point Investment must stop contacting the Wrights about acquiring their land, fix the roof of their home, and erect a privacy fence between the Wright property and the new development.

In one of her last public appearances, the matriarch shared her story when she attended the Fish and Grits Festival on Hilton Head Island. 

“Five years ago, someone called me on the phone and asked me if I wanted to sell my property. And what I did, I asked myself, ‘Well, what are you willing to pay?’ They said $39,000. I hung up the phone.” 

She continued, “I could not believe that they would put such a minimal value on land that is historical.

Wright said she was harassed by developers after she refused to sell her property.

“They came into my yard while they were tearing down the trees behind me, and my granddaughter was in the bedroom, and there were some of the workers there that were looking in her bedroom window.”

“The family is grateful to have settled,” Nicole told South Carolina Public Radio. “They’re focused on keeping the legacy of Mrs. Josephine Wright alive.”