Gullah Geechee Culture


Gullah Geechee Culture and Slavery

In this video the Gullah woman is giving us a great overview of her culture and heritage and it made me want to go home and do research. This is the closest thing I have to understanding African slaves and how they are keeping their traditions alive at least two hundred years after slavery, which is purely amazing. 

The Gullah Geechee people are from central and west Africa. They were brought to the East Coast of America to be slaves. The Gullah people reside mostly in the coastal plain of the Carolina's and are from Angola. The Geechee people reside mainly on the Georgian and Northeastern Florida coast. The National Parks Services of the Gullah Geechee Heritage said, "The Gullah Geechee islands were accessible only by boat until the 1950s, when the first bridges were built to bridge the islands to the mainlands". 

This group of people are the closest to represent Africa in the modern day. Most Africans went to the Caribbean first then came to the Americas but the Gullah Geechee people came directly here from the looks of it. This region was really good for growing Rice and Indigo. The Gullah Geechee people are the only ones who have a distinct name in the African American community, according to the Gullah Geechee corridor website which wrote, "The Gullah Geechee people are dark skinned people, meaning of African decent." This just shows that this group of people can easily be recognized.  

They speak somewhat African and Creole which comes to the Gullah Language and the Gullah Geechee Culture. Even though they are a secretive and close knit community, the people from Gullah Geechee community are trying to preserve their traditions so they can continue their way of life. There are festivals that allow the Gullah Geechee people to gather and share what they know with each other. According to the National park service, Gullah Geechee people remained isolated after the Civil War keeping their language, arts, crafts, religious beliefs, stories rituals, food and family. 

The Gullah Geechee food has to come with rice or their meal is not ready. They also do not throw away the burnt rice either they use that as rice cakes. I don't understand why they keep the burnt rice. If asked though, I would answer with the fact that slaves were not given much food so they ate everything they were given which grew into a tradition. Their language is unique for sure because it is a dying language, so our interest in it may allow it to be around for another 50 years or so, for our children. 

In Conclusion, there are also connections to the Sierra Leone culture in West Africa. The culture aspect of the Gullah Geechee community has had a big influence on America. The most of their culture that I have seen is when Candace Glover, the American Idol winner showed America her hometown and her Gullah Geechee heritage which made me want to know more about this distinct group of African-Americans. According to Mr. Brown, "It has never been the objective of the Gullah people to maintain this language. They never knew it was a language. It was thought of as "bad English" and they hated the ridicule that was associated with it."  For more information on the Gullah people and traditions please visit Georgianencylopedia.org, gullahgeecheecorridor.org or Yale.edu/glu/Gullah.

-Precious Jackson



-Precious Jackson

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