Tangier Island is disappearing. It lies 16 open-water miles from the closest mainland town in Virginia. The island loses around 15 feet of coastline per year, due to rising sea levels and erosion.

Tangier Island, and its 450 residents, vaulted onto the national stage after an interview the mayor and some town residents gave to CNN. In it, they asked President Trump for help in saving the island. Eighty-seven percent of island residents voted for Trump, who has previously called climate change a “hoax.”

Journalist Earl Swift has been living part-time and reporting on the island for years.

He wanted to know why, in light of all of this, why do its residents stay?

“For what makes Tangier dear to its people, what makes their concept of home so meaningful, is that it is still not an easy place — that it can, in fact, be frightfully hard,” Swift writes.

His new book is called “Chesapeake Requiem: A Year With The Watermen Of Vanishing Tangier Island.” We’ll speak to him about this community and their future.


  • Earl Swift Author, "Chesapeake Requiem: A Year with the Watermen of Vanishing Tangier Island"; journalist; @EarlSwift1
  • Susan Conner Chief of planning and policy, the US Army Corps of engineers - Norfolk division
  • Molly Mitchell Research scientist, VIMS - Center for Coastal Resources Management
  • James "Ooker" Eskridge Mayor, Tangier Island; local Waterman

An Excerpt From Chesapeake Requiem

CHESAPEAKE REQUIEM: A Year with the Watermen of Vanishing Tangier Island, by Earl Swift, published by Dey Street. Copyright 2018. Reprinted courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers.

Excerpt From Chesapeake Requiem: A Year With The Watermen Of Vanishing Tangier Island by wamu885 on Scribd

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