Press Kit / Production Notes – PDF



Local Documentary Well-Received in our Livingroom – June 14, 08

Ballard Lesemann’s Feedback File – June 12, 08

Charleston City Paper Review – June 4, 08

Moultrie News May 30, 08

Post and Courier May 29, 08 – PDF

Charleston City Paper – Spoleto Buzz

Post and Courier May 28, 08



Press Release April 28 2008


“This film tells a truth that is too long overdue. It needs to be seen!” D.F.

“Outstanding film. Your work is very important.” P.C.

“I viewed Bin Yah I learned a lot from it. I saw the creative eye all over it… the landscape shots, the lingering camera in facial close ups, the WallMart  truck that punctuates the desperation of the basket makers, as well as the music that defines the Gullah  people. It’s so disappointing to me and I’m sure  other people in this world that the changes you explore in the movie  are described and made in the name of progress. What you focus on is happening all over the world unfortunately. Movies like yours help shed light on how futile those changes are for the health wealth, and  sustainability of  communities. Good job.” L.N.

“Very valuable documentation.” L.H.

“On Thursday night I watched your wonderful job of presenting power’s indifference toward the relatively powerless. Thank you for speaking for them, for providing a forum for their voices. I found the piece touching and honest, a tribute to good, good people and their claims on the land. You, the director, and the rest of the team obviously did lots of work, and, wow, did it pay off for the viewers! I shall be ordering a copy”. BB.

“Incredible job. Very complete, full of emotion and fascinating history.” D.R.

“The most educational experience we had in years.” J.G.

“Saw Bin Yah and It was excellent!  I believe and I hope y’all can see it. Our communities and people’s heritage is at stake and we need to know what’s going on and hwo we can help!” C.D.   

“Thank you for the email about Binyah.  It was an excellent documentary and did a wonderful job crystallizing so many problems related to growth in the Lowcountry, including the personal side of the problem that often goes overlooked.” W.C.

“I watched this movie tonight with my entire family and we all thought it was one of if not the best programs we have ever seen on SCETV. Thank you for this work and please continue making more.”  J.S.

“Just fast to tell you that everyone loved your film Bin Yah. They found it very interesting and professional. We really enjoyed seeing the wonderful, sincere and earnest people who told the story of their community and history. Very well done. We taped it and every time I see it I like it even more and can appreciate all the very excellent things you have done with it. Good music too! Thank you for you important work. You are a very valuable storyteller!” M.N.

“Wonderful presentation. Being a Come Yah now I feel the weight of what the Bin Yah’s are experiencing. I will assist in helping the course.” J.W.

“Awesome!” It touched home.” J.J

“The movie was wonderful.  it was good to see that the people in Mt Pleasant are fighting to preserve their heritage and not giving in to those who want to keep pushing them out of their land. so I say to each of them keep up the good work, stay strong and stick together.” H.H.

“I thought your movie was great, very thought provoking.” D.F. 

“This documentary vividly shows what development can do to traditional communities and why we in Georgetown County have to fight for good zoning that will stop the spread of suburban development and gated communities particularly in areas along our rivers and creeks. Please pass the word along to watch Bin Yah!”  N.C.

“I really enjoyed this film! I wish that land will be provided for the basket makers. I’m proud that I know several of these special ladies.” E.H.

“I really enjoyed this documentary. It was very informative and touching. I would recommend everyone to see this film to learn about the heritage of the Gullah Nations. I enjoyed it very much.” S.B. 

“This film should be seen by anyone for a better understanding of the personal impact of economic decisions we make, that folks don’t pay attention to. Extremely Powerful Testimonial!.” R.F.

“A great piece of black history. Very, very well done.” J.S.

“I was awed by the program my husband and I watched on ETV regarding the development pressures on African American communities last evening!

Of course, I paid particular attention to the cemetery issues of Remley’s Point/Scanlonville as my friend, Dr. Trinkley, worked on the research for that project and acted as an expert witness in that court case. He will also be serving as expert witness in my own court case – one in which the developers have no regard for the preservation of such cultural resources and no regard for the rights of those who wish to visit the cemetery, locking out the family members wishing to visit.

Like the residents of Mt. Pleasant, the residents of Willtown and Parker’s Ferry in the southwestern portion of Charleston County, face similar pressures as those described. 

In 1994, I purchased a small portion of a former rice plantation and learned of a historic cemetery which was partly situated on my lands.  Westvaco owned the portion to the north of me and had been leasing the land to hunters.  The hunters, it seemed, had taken some of the gravestones to use to fill in grave depressions so they could travel across with their all terrain vehicles.

I also learned the other adjoining property owner, the County of Charleston, intended to construct a borrow pit and landfill and use the graveyard as the discharge site for their groundwater pumping operation.

Dr. Trinkley was contacted and with his assistance, we learned that potentially 800-1000 graves were located in a 2.32 acre site. 

Despite my having since nominated the cemetery, known as King Cemetery, to the National Register of Historic Places (the first of its kind to be so listed in SC), and going to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to win the right to protect that site and others, the cemetery continues to be threatened by encroaching development. (Pye v. US Army Corps of Engineers, Opinion 98229p, October 2001).

Several years ago, my husband, son and I witnessed people driving into the cemetery, across graves and damaging that cultural resource.  We took legal action.  Joining us as a co-Plaintiff was a friend, an African American woman, Ms. Carolyn White, who, as with many of our friends and neighbors in this area, have relatives buried in the cemetery.  Together we sought a restraining order to prevent further encroachment.

The judge, also an African American woman, appeared she did not want to rule on such a sensitive matter and encouraged our attorney to enter into a consent agreement drafted by the Defendant’s attorney which gave the site limited consideration.

To the Defendant’s attorney, she recommended he file a motion to dismiss the case, precluding us from ever reaching a jury.

The reason? 

The court’s rationale was that we, as white people, (even though part of the cemetery was on our land), could not have standing to sue to protect an African American cemetery!

To the question posed by my attorney as to the rights of the co-Plaintiff, Ms. White, who was obviously an African American and has relatives buried there, the judge responded that Ms. White did not own the underlying land and therefore could not sue to protect the sites where her loved ones were laid to rest.  The court completely ignored, in our opinion, the common law right to an implied easement whenever graves are located on private lands.

Eventually another Plaintiff came forward and filed his own suit.  The two cases will be consolidated for a jury to decide, provided we can survive the pre-trial motions expected to be filed in an effort to have the case tossed out of court.

The case has tremendous potential to set precedent across our state, as it will be dealing with the rights of those who have members of their families buried on private lands when the landowners refuse to permit access to those graves.

Just as our federal case which went to the Fourth Circuit became a matter of great national public interest, so too will this case, we believe.

Particularly when it serves to reiterates the type of development pressures facing the African American communities such as your program reported.

 If you are interested in knowing more about the egregious actions of this unique “trespass” case pending in the Court of Common Pleas for Charleston County, I am more than happy to help answer any questions.  Certainly anything you can do to follow this story and further create public awareness of these important issues would be greatly appreciated by me and the African American community located in Parker’s Ferry.

We also have a NPO in our area – the St. Paul’s Preservation Society, whose President is Ms. Maggie Ridge. She can be reached at 889-2539 if you wish to contact her for information or obtain the name of the legal team members handling the cases for us.

Thank you again for the beautiful presentation. Those interviewed gave inspirational testimony which touched us quite personally. 

Technically speaking, I found the work of the editing team, the narrators and the videographers to be expertly done.

Please continue to keep up the great work!” L.P. 

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