In South Carolina, descendants of West African slaves are used to riding out storms – National


As a potentially catastrophic Hurricane Florence steamed toward the Carolinas, Josh Dais watched the weather reports on the TV in his barber shop and listened for updates from emergency officials.

But when it comes to deciding whether to flee this island where thousands of black residents trace their ancestry back to West African slaves who once toiled in the fields nearby, the opinions of family elders can carry as much weight as those of professional meteorologists.

“If Mama won’t leave, most folks aren’t going to leave,” Dais, 29, said Tuesday, recalling how he rode out Tropical Storm Irma last year and Hurricane Matthew in 2016 with relatives at his mother’s home. “If Mama and Grandma are going, then a lot of people are leaving.”

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