An anthology from Clarity Press, Inc. (1998). 208pp. 6 x 9.25 inches. Hardcover. ISBN-10: 0-932863-25-6. ISBN-13: 978-0-932863-25-6.
Descendants of formerly enslaved Africans, many of whom fled their enslavement, the Gullah people number some 500,000 persons who still speak the Gullah language, a creole evolved from the interaction of diverse African languages and English.
Despite nearly overwhelming pressure to assimilate, the Gullahs and Geechees have been able to retain what may be the purest continuation of the African culture of their enslaved ancestors. Indeed, they may well be viewed as a living link between Africa and America.
Though concentrated mainly in the Lowcountry and Sea Islands off he coast of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, Gullah culture has radiated far beyond its territorial heartland, transmitted through the migrations of generations of Gullah/Geechee families throughout the U.S.
Legacy seeks to illustrate and contribute to the many efforts now underway for the protection and development of Gullah culture. Within these pages, we celebrate the beauties of contemporary Gullah art and cuisine, discuss threats to Gullah cultural survival, and hail the unique heritage that the Gullah have contributed to the social and democratic fabric of America.
Gullah people exist as any people exist — with a contemporary culture as well as an historical one — flavored by its antecedents yet dynamic with the energies and perceptions of the living. They are not an archival phenomenon, but a people who seek to go on as they have done, and to develop in their way. This anthology offers not only a rediscovery of the past, but a visit with the fragile promise of the present.
The front cover photo, taken from the acclaimed film Daughters of the Dust by Julie Dash, shows the memorial statue commemorating the spot off the Georgia Coast [at St. Simons Island] where captured Ibos returned in chains into the sea rather than face a life of enslavement. This event at Ibo Landing was one of the first major acts of resistance of enslaved Africans in the United States. But in real life, no marker exists to commemorate the site. (See “Memorial at Ibo Landing,” inside the book.)
Marquetta L. Goodwine is founder of the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition. Author, folklorist, performer and Gullah historian, Ms. Goodwine completed her higher education at Fordham and Columbia Universities after leaving the Sea Islands. She comes from two proud Gullah families of St. Helena, Polowana and Dataw Islands in South Carolina.
This website is sponsored by Mitchells Publications.