A Victory for Yvonne

Yvonne Wilson drives past the "Pearly Gates" of Haig Point Plantation. Her infant son is buried in a Gullah family cemetery inside the private residential community where a waterfront lot can cost as much as a half a million dollars.

Yvonne Wilson drives past the “Pearly Gates” of Haig Point Plantation. Her infant son is buried in a Gullah family cemetery inside the private residential community where a waterfront lot can cost as much as a half a million dollars.

Most of my friends are aware of the documentary project that I have been working on for more than a few years about the Gullah Geechee culture. Recently a portion of the project was published on the New York Times LENS Blog.

The story that accompanies the NYT slideshow mentions that while working on the project late last year, I accompanied Gullah native Yvonne Wilson as she tried to visit her son’s grave, which is located in an old Gullah family cemetery within a private residential community on Daufuskie Island.

Yvonne Wilson drives up to the private residential community on Daufuskie Island to visit her son's grave in October 2013.

Yvonne Wilson drives up to the private residential community on Daufuskie Island to visit her son’s grave in October 2013.

I spoke with Yvonne by phone today to confirm some facts for the upcoming book, and she was very excited to tell me that the New York Times story had shaken up things on Daufuskie Island.

She explained that soon after the story was published, she began receiving calls from golfers and residents of the gated community asking why she had so much trouble gaining access to her family’s burial grounds. Apparently community’s management also caught wind of the NYT story, and now Yvonne is able to easily access the cemetery — no questions asked.

As photojournalists, we always hope that our work will have a positive impact. Although this is not an earth-shattering development, it certainly has made the life of a very sweet lady on a quiet sea island a little bit better.

I am happy and honored to have been able to help.

Yvonne Wilson at her son's gravesite.

Yvonne Wilson at her son’s gravesite.

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