Judge to decide if Georgia immune from slave descendant suit

BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) – A federal judge will decide whether agencies in Georgia have immunity from a lawsuit claiming discrimination and neglect have eroded one of the last Gullah-Geechee communities of slave descendants from Florida to the Carolinas.

The suit claims state and county agencies have pressured black residents and landowners to leave the tiny Hogg Hummock community on Sapelo Island by charging unfair tax rates in return for few services.

Attorneys for the state want the judge to dismiss the lawsuit, citing the 11th Amendment’s broad protections for states being sued in federal court. Lawyers for the landowners say Georgia can be sued because it has accepted federal funding for programs that prohibit discrimination.

U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood told lawyers in court Tuesday she will rule by mid-June.

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