NAACP Involved in Sandfly Wal-mart Dispute - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

09/05/02

NAACP Involved in Sandfly Wal-mart Dispute

The fight to keep big businesses out of Sandfly has been ratcheted up. The NAACP is now involved, which could give Sandfly residents an edge when a final decision is made. Members of the Save Our Sandfly committee more or less went to the NAACP in need of help. If something doesn't change, a Super Wal-mart could be right smack in the middle of this small community. This  morning, the NAACP gathered to make a special announcement. It is now backing members of the Save our Sandfly organization.

"The NAACP has always been in the forefront for people who seem to be taken advantage of, and we welcome their help," said Sandfly resident Samuel Berkstire. He has lived there for most of his life, and like many other residents, he believes a big business will go against what Sandfly is all about.

"We have certain traditions that we hold dear to us, and Wal-mart coming in here will disrupt that," he said.

Traditions like simplicity and that small-town feeling. Although the NAACP members don't live in Sandfly, they are sympathizing with even the thought of losing those traditions.

"The NAACP, locally, state, regionally and nationally, is always on the side of the oppressed," NAACP vice president Richard Shinhoster told us. "And we see this development as being very oppressive to the Sandfly community."

James Miller does live in Sandfly and heads the Save Our Sandfly organization. His main concern is like that of Berkstire's: history should be preserved, even when it comes to Super Wal-mart.

"I say it the way everyone says it, put it in your own backyard," he said.

As for Samuel Berkstire, he plans to fight, in the name of history, tradition and his community.

"The way I see it, it's an intrusion on our values here," he said.

The NAACP specifically asked members of the metropolitan planning commission to consider the traditions and values that lie in Sandfly, and they also urged Wal-mart officials to do the same. The next step: the MPC will look further into Wal-mart's plan.  That is scheduled to happen on September 17, and of course, we'll continue following this story.

Reported by: Dmitra Denmark

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