A 280-acre coastal tract long used as a retreat for North Carolina's black teachers and their families sits in limbo while a legal fight ensues between grandchildren of the property's original caretakers and the state of North Carolina.
Heirs of John and Gertrude Hurst are appealing a judge's decision to turn The Hammocks over to the state Board of Education after a jury decided the teachers' nonprofit management board is unable to carry out its mission.
Andrew Kahrl, author of an upcoming book on historically black beaches, says disputes involving black-owned waterfront property are increasing across the country.
Kahrl said black Americans owned 15 million acres of property in 1910, but that figure has since dropped below 3 million, in part because beach property has become more valuable and appealing to whites.
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