Tuesday, June 30, 2015

In Remembrance of Charleston Part Two


In remembrance of the nine people who lost their lives in the Charleston Massacre, this is my second re-blogged post about South Carolina Gullah culture, which holds a strong connection with Mother Emmanuel AME Church. Like the resilient Gullah culture that continues to live on after hundreds of years, the spirit and names of  DePayne Middleton Doctor, Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, The Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders, The Rev. Dr. Daniel Simmons Sr., Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, and Myra Thompson will also live on.

Learning about a destination's culture and history are important aspects of the travel experience for me. I enjoy gathering insight into a place from a cultural perspective. One of the most fascinating culture's I've ever encountered is Gullah culture. This week, I have a feature story about Gullah culture in Travel Muse. The piece focuses on Gullah history in Hilton Head and St.Helena, South Carolina but the culture extends way beyond that.

The Gullah trace their heritage directly to the skilled rice farmers of Sierra Leone, West Africa. They were enslaved specifically because of those skills and were transported to work on rice plantations in South Carolina, Georgia and parts of Florida. The swampy conditions and malaria that went with it, made it uncomfortable for the plantation owners to live so they left the Gullah people to work the plantations mostly unattended. The isolation allowed Gullah dialect, customs and art to survive undiluted for 100 years. One of the hallmark's of Gullah culture is sweet grass basket "sewing" which mirrors Sierra Leone's centuries-old basket weaving tradition. Jery Taylor, pictured above, represents the fourth generation of her family to create sweet grass baskets. Jery has had her creations displayed at the Smithsonian and I quickly bought one of her designs, not just for the beauty but for the significant culture and history that it symbolizes.

4 comments:

A Cuban In London said...

I read your previous post and now I am reading this one. I loved them both. My heart goes out to all those who have been murdered by those terrorists (what else to call them?). I don't care if they were wearing a badge or they were wrapped in the Confederate flag. Terrorists they are.

Greetings from London.

Fly Girl said...


Cubano, thanks. It was one person who went into the church, prayed with them and killed them. In this country, if it were white people that had been killed, the killer would be thrown in prison without bail. As it stands, the killer is a young white man who was given a bullet proof vest and trip to Burger King when they found him. Justice is not guaranteed but we are all praying and organizing for equality. 200 years later.

A Cuban In London said...

And on top of that they are analysing his "mental health". If it'd been a Muslim, even just the one, he would have been labelled terrorist from the word go. I'm with you, different rules for different people. Same here in the UK, by the way.

Greetings from London.

Fly Girl said...

Cubano, Esta la verdad.