Josephine Wright Posthumously Wins Settlement Over Ancestral Land

Josephine Wright, a Hilton Head Island resident who died this year at 94, spent her last days fighting to protect her family’s ancestral South Carolina home from being taken by developers. Now, two months after her death, Wright’s fight is finally over: Bailey Point Investment, the construction company that was vying for her land, has settled with Wright’s family members after it initially sued for ownership early last year.

For nearly 30 years, Wright lived at her property, a 1.8-acre piece of land that’s belonged to her family since shortly after the Civil War.

GoFundMe account was started by Wright’s granddaughter, Charise Graves, as developers threatened to take her land. Wright was facing a lawsuit over property line issues filed by Bailey Point who was constructing a 147-unit neighborhood that would intrude on her land.

Wright’s family previously said the lawsuit was intended to coerce her into selling her home, so they started the fundraiser to combat the legal fees.

Wright’s story of an elderly woman pushing back against a Dickensian development company captivated national audiences and spurred an outcry from people such as Tyler Perry, who promised to build Wright a new house on the property, and Snoop Dogg and Kyrie Irving, who donated $10,000 and $40,000, respectively.

Wright – who is survived by four children, 40 grandchildren and dozens of great- and great-great-grandchildren – and her late husband Samuel Wright Jr, moved from New York City to Hilton Head Island some 30 years ago, seeking a place of peace and tranquility. Jonesville, the neighborhood into which they moved, was named after Caesar Jones, a Black civil war veteran and formerly enslaved man who had bought property in the area immediately after the war. Wright Jr’s family, who were Gullah Geechee, has owned 1.8 acres of land on the island since around that same time.

“I know they know that their grandmother is proud because they continued and they didn’t back down,” Altimese Nichole, a publicist for the family, said in a statement. “They continued the fight Mrs. Wright started.”

Wright’s family also formed the Josephine Wright Foundation which ” works to help other families in the Lowcountry protect their land from development,” per WJCL.

Baily Point is not permitted to contact the Wright family about purchasing the land, and there will be a privacy fence erected between the Wright family’s land and the new construction.