Travel Culture to the Land of Gullah

Many people in the United States are unaware of the Gullah culture. Living not so far from Charleston and knowing about Gullah as a rich culture of the “low country” gives me great joy. I was first introduced to the Gullah people through the beautiful exquisite baskets that are made by the Gullah women of Charleston and surrounding areas of the low country. The baskets are made from reeds gathered near the sea, and as more and more development happens in the coastal areas, the reeds become more and more scarce. The Gullah are extraordinary craftspeople in every medium including cooking, basketry, brick making, planting and gardening, and everything else you can imagine. These are the important crafts of living, and the Gullah are masters at so many things. Their dialect is what I love the most, and to hear the resonance of their voices is to travel along a velvet thread of song. Travel culture to the land of Gullah includes every sense that a human enjoys. The sights, smells, patterning, sounds  and amazing food can transport you into their culture.

“When you think about how many Africans were brought into the U.S. [as slaves],” he said, “a good portion of [their descendants] are Gullah, and they have no idea.”

Bill Green taking a break at his restaurant, Gullah Grub.

But Green worries that Gullah culture and traditions are vanishing as time goes on. He’d like to see Gullah people return to their artisanal roots. “There are no more true traditional brick makers, no more cobblestone layers,” Green said. “We didn’t used to build big fancy houses because of the storms, we didn’t worry about a big fancy car, but now it’s just disappearing.” (Aric S. Queen author for the National Geographic )

If you are traveling on the eastern seaboard, you must visit Charleston and the “low country” which extends south of Charleston down to Savannah, Georgia. The Gullah crafts and basketry can be experienced at the market in Charleston, and know that you are buying an object that is an investment in cultural heritage. Travel culture to the land of Gullah is a trip worth making. Don’t hesitate, make plans now to visit the land of the Gullah. Read the full article in the National Geographic here.



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