The Gullah people of the Lowcountry are descendants of the enslaved Africans from West and Central Africa, and their rich cultural legacy endures. The Gullah (sometimes called Geechee) corridor extends from North Carolina to northern Florida including both the mainland and sea islands.
According to Gullah expert Dr. Emory Campbell,* the Gullah have preserved much of their African language and cultural heritage in part due to isolated living conditions. Gullah artistic traditions such as music, storytelling, folktales, crafts, basket making or “sewing” and rice-based foods encompass strong influences from West African Cultures.
Gullah artists such as basketweavers, dancers, storytellers, and singers carry on traditions brought to the Lowcountry. For example, coiled sea grass basketry has survived in America for 300 years, and these baskets are now recognized as an art form. Gullah spoken language, folktales and stories as well as spirituals and gospels are passed down from generation to generation.
This Virtual Library was designed to provide educators with resources such as videos, lessons plans, handouts, and digital content. These tools aid in the study of Gullah history while allowing students to experience Gullah arts and culture.
*Former Penn Center Director, former chair of the Gullah - Geechee Corridor Commission, co-author of the new book “Gullah Days: Hilton Head Islanders Before the Bridge 1861-1956” and a past member of the Arts Center’s Board of Trustees.
This project is funded in part by the South Carolina Arts Commission which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Additional support is provided by the Winthrop Family Allendale/Hampton Fund which is managed by Coastal Community Foundation of S.C.