The gullah geechee people of the sea

They live in small farming and fishing units, having formed a tightly knit community that has survived slavery, the Civil War, and the emergence of modern American culture.

The gullah geechee people of the sea

Although the islands along the southeastern U. Modern-day researchers designate the region stretching from Sandy Island, South Carolina, to Amelia Island, Florida, as the Gullah Coast—the locale of the culture that built some of the richest plantations in the South.

Many traditions of the Gullah and Geechee culture were passed from one generation to the next through language, agricultureand spirituality. The culture has been linked to specific West African ethnic groups who were enslaved on island plantations to grow riceindigoand cotton starting inwhen antislavery laws ended in the Georgia colony.

The colony enacted a antislavery law, but the prohibition was lifted in West Africans, the argument went, were far more able to cope with the climatic conditions found in the South. And, as the growing wealth of South Carolina's rice economy demonstrated, slaves were far more profitable than any other form of labor available to the colonists.

Rice plantations fostered Georgia's successful economic competition with other slave-based rice economies along the eastern seaboard. Coastal plantations invested primarily in rice, and plantation owners sought out Africans from the Windward Coast of West Africa Senegambia [later Senegal and the Gambia], Sierra Leone, and Liberiawhere rice, indigo, and cotton were indigenous to the region.

For example, Africa's Windward Coast was later commonly referred to as the Rice Coast in recognition of the large numbers of Africans enslaved from that area who worked on rice plantations in America. Other researchers speculate that Gullah and Geechee are borrowed words from any number of ethnic groups along the Windward Coast—such as Gola, Kissi, Mende, Temne, Twi, and Vai—that contributed to the creolization of the coastal culture in Georgia and South Carolina.

Gullah is thought to be a shortened form of Angola, the name of the group first imported to the Carolinas during the early colonial period. Geechee, historically considered a negative word identifying Sea Islanders, became an acceptable term in light of contemporary evidence linking it to West Africa.

Although the origins of the two words are not definitive, some enslaved Africans along the coast had names that were linked to the Kissi group, leading to speculation that the terms may also derive from that particular culture.

Linguist Lorenzo Dow Turner researched and documented spoken words on the coast during the s, traced similarities to ethnic groups in West Africa, then published the Gullah dialect lexicon, Africanisms in the Gullah Dialect His research confirms the evolution of a new language based on West African influences and English.

The gullah geechee people of the sea

Slave Religion and Community-Culture among the Gullahs identifies cultural and spiritual habits that relate to similar ethnic groups of West Africans who are linked by language.

Her research on the coastal culture complements Turner's findings that Africans on the Sea Islands created a new identity despite the tragic conditions of slavery. Cultural Heritage Documentation of the developing culture on the Georgia islands dates to the nineteenth century.

By the late twentieth century, researchers and scholars had confirmed a distinctive group and identified specific commonalities with locations in West Africa. The rice growers' cultural retention has been studied through language, cultural habits, and spirituality.

The research of Mary A. Twining and Keith E.

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Baird in Sea Island Roots: African Presence in the Carolinas and Georgia investigates the common links of islanders to specific West African ethnicities. The Fanner Basket enslaved rice growers from West Africa brought with them knowledge of how to make tools needed for rice harvesting, including fanner baskets for winnowing rice.

The sweetgrass baskets found on the coastal islands were made in the same styles as baskets found in the rice culture of West Africa.

Sweetgrass baskets also were used for carrying laundry and storing food or firewood. Religious meetings in "praise houses" were the spiritual outlet for enslaved Africans on the plantation.Eventbrite - Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition & All Mobile Productions™ (AMP™) presents Gullah/Geechee Nation International Music & Movement Festival™ - Friday, August 3, | Sunday, August 5, at Charleston Music Hall, Charleston, SC.

Find event and ticket information. Gullah is a term that was originally used to designate the creole dialect of English spoken by Gullah and Geechee people.


Over time, its speakers have used this term to formally refer to their creole language and distinctive ethnic identity as a people. Welcome to the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor. The Corridor is a federal National Heritage Area and it was established by the U.S. Congress to recognize the unique culture of the Gullah Geechee people who have traditionally resided in the coastal areas and the sea islands of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida — from Pender County, North Carolina, to St.

Johns. The Gullah are a population of people of African descent who live in the Lowcountry region of the U.S. states of Georgia, South Carolina, in both the coastal plain and the Sea Islands (including urban Savannah and Charleston), as well as The developed a creole language, the Gullah language, and a culture rich in African influences that makes them distinctive among African Americans.

The Gullah people inhabit many of the one hundred Sea Islands, which stretch along the Atlantic Ocean coasts of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and northern Florida. These marshy tidal and barrier islands have a humid subtropical climate. The largest Gullah communities in South Carolina can be found on Daufuskie, Edisto, Wadmalaw, John’s Island, and especially St.

Helena Island, which is the center of Gullah culture and whose Penn Center and York W. Bailey Museum celebrate Gullah heritage drawing many tourists to the island.

Geechee and Gullah Culture | New Georgia Encyclopedia