Honoring Sally Blagg

1999 CE

Journalist Henry Wiencek, from Dorchester, MA, released one of the most heavily referenced Early American texts about the plantation era in Upper Sauratown called The Hairstons: An American Family in Black and White. Our managing director was a freshman in high school at the time when his grandmother handed him the text saying “this book is about our family.” The text, centering the contemporary lives of both European as well as Black American descendants of Peter “Sauratown” Hairston, was the first time that some descendants od Sally Blagg had seen published narratives about their common ancestor. Upon reading the text our managing director was moved to recenter the voice of his family’s lived experience in a manner that paved the way for a more nuanced understanding.

1928 CE

In 1904, James Buchanan Duke established Catawba Power Company and the following year he and his brother founded Southern Power Company (later known as Duke Power), precursor to Duke Energy. On May 8, 1928 Samuel Hairston, the husband of Edith’s daughter Clara Ann, and father of Lilliann, was impacted by eminent domain efforts by Duke Energy; his land was taken by the company “for $1 and other valuable considerations.” Just eight days later, on May 16, Mr. Hairston’s daughter Lillann would pass away while giving birth to her youngest daughter Beatrice. Lilliann Hairston’s husband Warren Withers would pass away just two years later in 1930 and all of their children would be the first generation of the Saura to be displaced from their ancestral lands and educated, at least in part, in the United States industrial education system.

1890 CE

Anthropologists have studied Saura (Sara, Xuala, Ani Suwali) use of complex land management practices, including the management of ‘food forests’ to sustain ecological balance in the human relationship with nature, for over half a century. The process of cultivating the sacred tobacco plant is a part of their tradition that has been exploited for European trade; first by a plantation based economy then by the pursuits of industrialists such as James Buchanan Duke and his American Tobacco Company (1879). 

The U.S. Supreme Court case United States v. American Tobacco Company, was intent upon regulating Mr. Duke’s restraint of trade and attempt to monopolize the business of tobacco in interstate commerce. The results of this case completely devastated Saura economic life.

1826 CE

Tiposahib Hairston, a son of Capt. Peter Hairston and Sally Blagg, married a young woman of the Saura matrilineal tradition named Edith. Partus Sequitur Ventrem, a legal doctrine of the Virginia Colony, would have it that “children of enslaved mothers would inherit the legal status of their mothers.” It is by this same legal doctrine that Tiposahib and Edith’s daughter Becky Jane and all of her siblings as well as her descendants would be “free Black Americans” of the Saura matrilineal tradition. Tiposahib, like his father and the Saura men in his community, was a tobacco farmer; carrying on traditions of the Sauratown mountains that has been alive since time immemorial. That tradition lives on in the Sauratown Mountains.

1780 CE

Captain Peter “Sauratown” Hairston, the grandson of a Scottish immigrant of the same name and a veteran of the Revolutionary War, purchased the 32,000 acre Hamburg Plantation in the Sauratown Mountains. He and his wife, Alcey Perkins, had one child (Ruth Stovall Hairston); oral history has it that Capt. Hairston purchased a “negro girl named Sal,” as a ‘tobacco bride,’ from Samuel Patterson (the first Treasurer of Delaware) for a barrel of tobacco in February of 1785. Upon Capt. Hairston's death his will declared that Sally Blagg and all of her children remain with his land. The rapid encroachment of industrialization in the newly independent United States, and the status of Black Americans at the time, made Capt. Hairston’s wishes complex to achieve without a fight.

1763 CE

The Germanic, Iberian, French, Dutch, Swedish as well as British tradelines criss-crossed American landscapes in a manner that bred alliances both domestically and abroad. One such alliance, the Iron Confederacy, rose to predominance on the northern Plains during the height of the fur trade; the alliance operated as middlemen controlling the flow of European goods, particularly guns and ammunition, to other Indigenous nations. In 1763, at the end of the French and Indian War, King George III (British) created a proclamation that was intent upon separating the British colonies on the Atlantic coast from American Indian lands west of the Appalachian Mountains. Many veterans of the French and Indian War, including Peter Hairston of Virginia, was offered land in the ‘buffer zone’ for their service in the war.

1502 CE

Seafaring groups from across the Iberian Peninsula began to instigate wars, from the Spanish conquest of the Maya, Aztec, Inca as well as countless other Empires at least through to the end of the French and Indian War, in the name of Christianity, then in the name of Democracy. In a 261 year time span outside interests have extracted valuable resources, taken control of cultural landscapes, repressed the voices of the land’s first peoples; making those peoples that attemps to set firm boundaries in the face of colonial aggression  into enemies of the American people. There have been waves of immigrant groups, displaced by foreign colonial conflict, that have been allies in the preservation of the environments and traditions of America's first people but only insofar as they gained land, fiat currency and the right to trade with first peoples in that process.

1492 CE

On the 31st of March of this year, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella issued the Alhambra Decree, ordering the expulsion of Jews from Granada and administrative kingdoms of the Catholic Monarch. It is this moment in the vast social history of the Iberian Peninsula that marks a shift in narrative keeping, from narratives centering environmental occurrences to the centering of social ones. Along with this shift in storytelling, the so-called “Age of Discovery” began to impact subsistence farming life, and the intertribal network of tradeways that spanned all of America's. The Iberian soldiers, on a quest to discover the “riches of India” would discover, instead, interdependence as the very cultural backbone of this storied ancient wealth.

711 CE-1491 CE

For thousands of years before this eight hundred year time period the Iberian Peninsula has been home to diverse cultures exchanging goods and living in harmony with one another and the natural environment. Around 1,000 years before Christ, that harmony was ruffled but not shattered by the arrival of outsiders. Different peoples from the eastern Mediterranean, first the Phoenicians, then the Cartheginians and Romans settled on the southern coasts of Spain. The identity of the Iberian Peninsula has been forged by many hands; it is the Arian teachings of the Christian faith and conquest in the name of religion during this period that shaped contemporary views of ‘the West.’

600 CE-1100 CE

A series of significant El Nino events brought cycles of drought to the Andean highlands and flooding to Pacific coastal cities. The archeological record, as well as oral history, shows that these climate cycles resulted in the mass emigration of people both east through the Amazon and other river valleys as well as north along the Caribbean Islands and on to what is now known to North Americans as ‘the southeast.’ Some seafaring groups even found themselves settling landscapes throughout the so-called ‘Atlantic World.’

About Us

Our History

Sally Blagg Family Foundation™ is a faith-based organization, supporting environmental restoration, conservation of cultural landscapes as well as language preservation efforts across all of the Americas. Our unique pre-design capacity building process was designed to guide subsistence farming families, living in post-war north Atlantic port cities, through a self discovery process that results in repatriation. That foundational work has since grown to a hemispheric scale.

Let us go forward in this battle fortified by conviction that those who labour in the service of a great and good cause will never fail.

Meet Our Principal Curator

David Rose, P.C.

Since 2008 principal curator David Rose has been convening design teams that live, work and play in post-industrial American port cities. His approach to increasing solutions-oriented media coverage in these areas where he works (beginning with work in the cities of Buffalo, and Brooklyn (NY) as well as the Philadelphia County) borrows from the scholarly fields of critical ethnography, ethnomusicology and pre-contact urban planning. By housing his pre-design efforts amongst urban farmers, artists, veteran families and elder narrative keepers, Rose has been able to work with diverse communities, building diverse teams inside of a cooperative pre-planning process long before speculative land developers raise the necessary funds to begin building. Sally Blagg was created on March 9, 2017, as a biophilic atelier in order to formalize focused investment in local subject matter experts during the pre-design process. We continue to create support for development without displacement efforts after community capacity-building work is complete.

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