Explore Gullah and African-American heritage this February

We Fada wa dey een heaben
Leh ebrybody hona ya nyame
We pray dat soon ya gwine rule oba de wol.
Wasoneba ting ya wahn,
Leh um be so een dis wol
Same like dey een heaben.
Gii we de food wa we need
Dis day yah an ebry day.
Fagibe we fa we sin
Same lik we da fagibe dem people
Wa do bad ta we.
Leh we dohn hab haad test
Wen Satan try we
Keep we fom ebil.

Do you know that prayer? Of course you do! It’s the Lord’s Prayer–in Gullah.

Since it’s Gullah Month in the sea islands and coastal regions of South Carolina, Georgia, and parts of Florida, we’re starting the day off with a little Gullah Culture in America, by Wilbur Cross (forward by Dr. Emory Shaw Campbell), released just yesterday.

The existence of the Gullahs went almost unnoticed until the 1860s, when missionaries discovered hidden pockets of a bygone African culture with its own language, traditions, medicine, weaving, and art on St. Helena Island. Today, more than 300,000 Gullah people live in the remote areas along the Gullah-Geechee Corridor, which spans from South Carolina to Jacksonville, Fla., their way of life endangered by overdevelopment in an increasingly popular tourist destination. The Penn Center, based on St. Helena Island, works to preserve and document the Gullah and Geechee cultures.

Gullah Culture in America begins with the journeys of 15 Gullah speakers who left Savannah, Ga., and went to Sierra Leone and other parts of West Africa in 1989, 1998, and 2005 to trace their origins and history. Their stories frame this fascinating look at the extraordinary history of the Gullah culture. The book also shows readers what it’s like to grow up and live in this unique American community.

So how well do you know Gullah? We at Blair put together a little quiz for you on this fascinating subject. Check back tomorrow for the answers and more.

  1. What language do the Gullah still speak today?
  2. How have the Gullah been able to keep their language and their traditions in tact?
  3. Have Gullah influences found their way into mainstream culture?
  4. Although the Gullah are Christian, their beliefs deviate in one important aspect. What is it?
  5. What is a “basket name”?

One thought on “Explore Gullah and African-American heritage this February

  1. Pingback: What do you know about Gullah? | John F. Blair, Publisher

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