The Sea Islands off the coast South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, also known as the Lowcountry, have been home to the Gullah-Geechee community for the past three centuries. This thesis examines through a historical lens how the interaction of the Gullah people of Hilton Head island with the land has intersected and been impacted by changes to that land, the justice implications of those intersections, and how the story of the Gullah people and the development of Hilton Head for tourism and private residential communities can add to the literature of environmental studies, environmental justice, and the broader history of African Americans in the United States.
At Wellesley College, cultural organizations for Black and Latina students are among the largest, most powerful, and most highly funded student groups on campus. In this work, I explore how and why these organizations were founded, how they support Black and Latina students and how that support affects student academic achievement, and why these students need support from racially and ethnically similar peers at all. Most importantly, I suggest ways in which the Wellesley administration and student leaders of Black and Latina cultural organizations can help those organizations have the most positive possible impact on academic achievement.