Tyler Perry took to social media to mourn the death of Josephine Wright, the 94-year-old woman who made national headlines for fighting against developers to keep her home on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina.

Her fight brought larger attention to situations in South Carolina and Georgia where developers are taking land from the Gullah Geechee people.

Wright’s family confirmed she died Sunday night “surrounded by family, loved ones, and prayers” as they remembered the woman who fought tirelessly during the last year of her life.

“It is with heavy hearts that the Wright Family announces the passing of our beloved matriarch, Mrs. Josephine Wright, who peacefully transitioned on January 7th, 2024, surrounded by family, loved ones, and prayers. Her legacy as a pillar of strength, wisdom, and commitment to justice will forever remain etched in our hearts,” the family wrote in a statement on the GoFundMe website.

According to the Post and Courier, Wright’s legal battle with Georgia-based developer Bailey Point Investment LLC began in February 2023. At the time, the company alleged that a portion of Wright’s 29-acre lot would be used to construct a 147-unit residential development called Bailey’s Cove. However, the 94-year-old stood her ground and fought for several months to keep her home, which has been in her family since just after the Civil War.

“I am not going to sell my property,” she told the newspaper then. “I stand firm on that.”

In May 2023, Wright’s granddaughter, Charise Graves, initially launched the fundraising campaign to raise awareness about the family matriarch’s fight to keep her land. Perry learned about Wright’s legal battle with Bailey Point the following month and promised to help her. Several months later, Wright faced another hardship involving the historic property.

According to the Atlanta Black Star, the Wright family shared on the fundraiser website that a tree had caused damage to the 94-year-old’s home. Wright had to live with her grandchildren after the house was unfit for anyone to live there. Perry also stepped in, vowing to build Wright a new home. However, she died before the 54-year-old could meet with her.

“I am so heartbroken to hear about the passing of this warrior. Ms. Josephine Wright, even though we spoke by phone, I was so looking forward to meeting you in person next month to hand you the keys to your new house, but God had other plans,” Perry wrote in an Instagram post on Monday.

He continued: “My prayer is that you rest in peace knowing that I will honor the commitment that I made to you. I know you will be watching over us all as I hand those same keys to your family.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Tyler Perry (@tylerperry)

“So your 4 children, 40 grandchildren, 50 great-grandchildren and 4 great-great-grandchildren will still be able to gather at YOUR house on YOUR land and tell the world what kind of fighter that you were,” he added.

“You have run your race and fought an incredible fight! Journey well my dear lady,” he wrote, adding, “You have inspired me.”

The Wright family raised nearly $17,000 over their $350,000 goal on the GoFundMe website. They assured everyone who supported the campaign that the Josephine Wright Foundation would be created to keep her memory alive.