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Geeche Kunda founded to unite
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Jim Bacote, the founder of the Geechee Kunda site in Riceboro, said he aims to enhance the public’s awareness about the heritage and daily lives of African Americans, and he’s using his new tourism site to do it.
By laying out a chronological path starting with the enslavement of Africans, Bacote explains the byproducts of the successes and inequities African Americans have encountered since the colonization of America.  
To put it bluntly, enslaved Africans spent years in bondage, were emancipated 150 years ago, enjoyed a time of prosperity during Reconstruction, but the prosperity halted due to segregation and the Ku Klux Klan in the South, he said.
This supremacy threw a good number of African Americans to the lower class, and has kept them there since through government control, terrorist groups, fear tactics, lynchings, Jim Crow segregation and institutional racism.
During the Civil Rights Movement, Bacote played a pivotal role as a plaintiff in Law vs. Jekyll Island Parks Authority that helped set the precedent for desegregation in Georgia and the rest of the South.
Bacote’s father was a taxpayer along with many other African Americans in Georgia, and their tax money went to the public bathhouses and beaches on Jekyll Island that they could not use, he said.
With the aid of the NAACP and Vernon Jordan, they won the case and helped topple segregation.
“The problem with desegregation was that blacks lost some of their unity. Blacks strayed from their neighborhoods and became more interested in doing business with whites to feel equal,” Bacote said. “This was problematic because white people created those inequities in the first place, and blacks began feeding their dollars to white producers, which created an economic backlash among black businesses.”
Since then, Bacote has broken ranks with the NAACP because he believes the group is too bureaucratic and does not get enough done. This was one of the determining factors in creating the Geechee Kunda compound to broaden the minds of all colors on an individual basis, he said.
Presently, Bacote points to what changes need to be made within the county to promote awareness and education.
“The enslavement of blacks is hardly taught in any of Liberty’s school curriculums, and it’s like omitting a chapter of history. Teaching enslavement history would advance the understanding of the period, and it would shed light on the slavery, which still exists all over the world,” he said.
Parents, teachers and business owners need to have a stronger sense of dedication, that could couple knowledge with job opportunities to close the divide between whites and blacks, he noted.
“White superiority is still everywhere including in this county. Ask any banker in the area, and they’ll tell you who the richest people in the county are, and they aren’t black. But this is not exactly a malicious act on the part of white people,” he said.
Through the use of history exhibits and historians, “truth tellers,” artists, poets, singers and teachers at Geechee, Bacote said he isn’t trying to worsen what he perceives as disparities between white and black, but rather unify all races because people collectively share each other’s successes and problems. 
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