Members of the GEECHEE GULLAH RING SHOUTERS perform at the SAPELO ISLAND Cultural Day Festival on Sapelo Island on Oct. 20, 2012. Two University of Connecticut music professors are preparing to share their firsthand research next year with 80 classroom teachers from elementary and high schools across the U.S. It’s an effort to spread word of a distinct American culture that’s rapidly giving way to assimilation as younger generations leave small island communities for life on the mainland.
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Land Grab Tests Geechee and Gullah Culture: A young member of Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church walks toward the shore after being baptized in Skull Creek. Mt. Calvary is one of the few churches on Hilton Head Island that still performs traditional river baptisms. Others have given up the practice as development has limited their access to the island’s waterways.
Have you ever heard of the Gullah people of South Carolina? They are also called Geechies. The word “Gullah” is short for the “Gola” people of Angola, and “Geechie” refers to the “Gidzi” people of Sierra Leone. Many of the inhabitants of the Sea Islands off the coast of South Carolina, Georgia and northern Florida, originally came from the areas of Africa that are today the nations of Angola and Sierra Leone. The Sea Islands are lowland areas separated from the mainland by marshes and…