I was told, by DOM/ACP/Others, that ‘Your land is so small, so insignificant, it doesn’t even matter.’ So, their plan is to not even acknowledge that we actually exist in this community. All of us, who deny access for land surveying are no longer indicated on their maps; but the pipeline route alternatives have not changed.
Their plan continues to plow through our properties and, in very close proximity, around us – the blast zone. Those with the pipeline routes directly on their property line have received no acknowledgement [via the nasty-grams]; however, the neighbors, on the ‘other side’ of their property line, have received letters and are acknowledged in the process. There is no evidence that the pipeline is necessary, and no evidence that it will benefit anyone in the land it passes through. If our land does not matter; then, take the raggedy pipeline out of this area.
This community is one family, related by slavery. We are the proud descendants of the slaves, who helped to build the surrounding historic areas. We don’t own more land or have the architecturally-rich housing; because we are some 200 years behind. And, as a whole, we are still recovering from the economic hindrances resulting from slavery: the institution so odious, nothing should support it.
Our families have dwelled here together; since before emancipation. We are from the time when mothers bore 10 to 15+ children. My mother was a mid-wife and, having 11 of her own, was ‘called’ to deliver the children of others. When the local family store was open, it ran on a ‘ticket system’. So, if you had no money, you could still feed your family. No race, creed, or religion mattered. And come harvest time; whether it be produce or processing meats, families came together and helped each other. And, again, all were fed.
True, we may not see each other often; but let a tree fall in the road and all available will gather in the competition to remove the tree and help each other on their way. All we have to do is knock on a door and help will answer. We have a high regard for life and value people over money. We continue to take care of each other. Still, when we sit on the porch or drive by a house, we wave [hello], because it’s ‘just good manners’. It does not matter that we know each other.
As taught from generation to generation, at least 7, we do well to keep our land in the family. It is the only inheritance we have. So, with utmost responsibility to our heirs, we maintain the tradition, seeing that our land passes on in our ‘given’ family names.
After Nelson became a county entity, our ancestors endured the Civil War. Certainly, our ancestors were buried throughout these lands. There is no evidence they were buried anywhere else. We have many family cemeteries. And, we continue to bury our family members there today. While some leave the area for seemingly better lives, some stay behind to care for the elderly or the young. Those who left, return, to ‘see about the family’. And still, we return to these lands to be buried and to rest in peace with loved ones.
We dig wells to supply our needs for water. Some have reservoirs to provide running water into the home. Some still use a physical spring, which is some distance from the home. And, when the wells run dry, we must locate another spot on our small land to dig another well. Some have been blessed to have indoor plumbing with sewer systems. But, some still dig the grounds and must continue to find another spot on their small land for outhouse locations. Some still use timber to heat their homes. So, we need the timber on our lands. These are dire reasons why our land may not be interrupted by this pipeline.
These SMALL LANDS DO MATTER!
We are the smallest population of people. We continue to be the most diminishing race of people. There needs to be legislation for us - ‘No pipeline intrusion, where a one-family community of slave descendants reside.’
And, if there is such intrusion; then, pay us the full value of the lands and all types of improvements, at premium for this disruption of our lives. And, if there is to be a pipeline; then, DOM/ACP/Others must compensate a member of each family at a management level position with salary and benefits, in perpetuity, as long as the pipeline is buried in the lands-whether the family member does anything or not. Because, surely, when the raggedy pipeline bursts, no employees of the companies will come to our aid; we’ll lose the quality of our land and our homes, but most importantly – our lives!
If there is ever to be reparations for us, for some 200 years of progress we were neglected, we could start with:
~ No eminent domain access; unless the access serves the landowner
~ No income or any type of property taxes for 200 years.
This world must raise their level of intelligence to understand that PEOPLE MATTER. We have served this nation’s people, since the 1800’s. We have served in the wars. And, now we are being targeted, again, without compensation. It must stop! ACP/DOM/Others have the resources to take this pipeline another way, spend the billions to do it and have their profits elsewhere. We have no place else to go; but surely they can go elsewhere.