Many African-Americans and West Indians live in the United States not ever knowing or being aware that their roots are that of the “Gullah” People. These group of People were able to embrace their “African” roots during times when it was forbidden. The Gullah are African Americans who live in the Lowcountry region of South Carolina and Georgia, which includes both the coastal plain and the Sea Islands. Historically, the Gullah region once extended north to the Cape Fear area on the coast of North Carolina and south to the vicinity of Jacksonville on the coast of Florida; but today the Gullah area is confined to the South Carolina and Georgia Lowcountry. The Gullah people and their language are also called Geechee, which some scholars speculate is related to the Ogeechee River near Savannah, Georgia. The term “Geechee” is an emic term used by speakers (and can have a derogatory connotation depending on usage) and “Gullah” is a term that was generally used by outsiders but that has become a way for speakers to formally identify themselves and their language. The Gullah are known for preserving more of their African linguistic and cultural heritage than any other African-American community in the United States. They speak an English-based creole language containing many African loanwords and significant influences from African languages in grammar and sentence structure. The Gullah language is related to Jamaican Creole, Barbadian Dialect, Bahamian Dialect, and the Krio language of Sierra Leone in West Africa. Gullah storytelling, cuisine, music, folk beliefs, crafts, farming and fishing traditions, all exhibit strong influences from West and Central African cultures.
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- Ninth Annual Gullah-Geechee Rice Celebration on South Carolina’s Hammock Coast (prweb.com)
- You: Anacostia Community Museum Attempts Record-Breaking Ring Shout (blogs.smithsonianmag.com)
- Re-Tracing African Roots Through Online Database and Other Sources (craigconsidine.wordpress.com)