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Gullah and the Sea Islands

Discussion in 'Honoring Black Ancestors' started by cherryblossom, Jun 19, 2009.

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    cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Gullah Language & Culture

    The Gullah language, a Creole blend of Elizabethan English and African languages, was born of necessity on Africa's slave coast, and developed in the slave communities of the isolated plantations of the coastal South. Even after the sea islands were freed in 1861, the Gullah speech flourished because access to the islands was by water only until the 1950's. Today, one hears phrases like

    Come Jine We.
    Ketch ob de Day
    Lok Ya Wantem Shrimps

    But, Gullah is more than a language or dialect.........
    ................it is a culture.

    Thousands of enslaved Africans survived the middle passage to reach the sea island shores. The majority of the slaves, 40,000, came from a section of Africa known as Angola. With the people --Mende, Kisi, Malinke, and Bantu-- came the soul of Africa. Their ancestral traditions survived as well. The words "Gullah" and "Geechee" have come to describe that legacy....."


    http://www.coastalguide.com/gullah/
     
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    cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    The language of the Sea Islands

    "Mus tek cyear a de root fa heal de tree." - Gullah proverb [You need to take care of the root in order to heal the tree.]

    The origin of the Gullah language is as unique as the cadence and rhythm of its sound. Slaves from the Sea Islands of South Carolina and northern Georgia were brought to America largely from different communities on the Rice Coast of West Africa. Therefore many spoke similar but distinctive languages, and in order to communicate with each other and with their owners, they combined the similarities with the English they learned to form the unique Gullah language. This process of combining different languages is called "creolization."

    For years, linguists referred to the Gullah, or Geechee, language as a dialect of standard English. But in the 1940s, as African-American linguist Lorenzo Turner researched African languages, it became apparent that Gullah did indeed have its roots in Africa. According to Turner, the most noted similarities between Gullah and the languages spoken in West Africa include the use of nouns, pronouns, verbs, and tense. Almost all Gullah nouns are singular, and no distinction is made between singular or plural verbs either. These charactertistics are the same in many African languages. Also, Gullah and various African languages rarely account for when something actually happened - the present verb tense is also often used to refer to the past...."

    http://www.islandpacket.com/man/gullah/language.html
     
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    cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Sweetgrass Baskets

    "..a tradition brought from West Africa by slaves. Coiled sea grass basketry has survived in America for 300 years, and sweetgrass baskets now are recognized as an art form....


    ...The African-American art of basket making dates from the 1700s, when baskets first were used in rice cultivation.....

    Fanner baskets were wide winnowing trays used to throw threshed and pounded rice into the air, allowing the wind to blow away the chaff.

    Early baskets were made of bulrush, an abundant marsh grass, but sweetgrass became the weavers' preferred material around the turn of the century.

    In the early 1900s, a group of black families from Mount Pleasant began mass producing and selling "show baskets" made of sweetgrass. The community remains the center of modern-day basket making.

    Originally, basket makers were men. Now most weavers are women...."

    http://www.islandpacket.com/man/gullah/weavers.html
     
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    Clyde C Coger Jr

    Clyde C Coger Jr Clyde C. Coger, Jr. PREMIUM MEMBER

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    In the Spirit of Sankofa!

    Gullah and the Sea Islands

    Gullah Language & Culture




    sister cherryblossom,

    Thank you for clearing up my otherwise distorted understanding of the term Geechee. To now know that Gullah is deeply connected to Geechee, and not so much the state of Louisiana, lol, also provides better insight with full understanding.

    Again, the wealth of information you submitted led me to research out the Gantt Cottage that became home to Martin Luther King, Jr. during the many annual meetings held at Penn Center or Penn School of the SCLC …Peace In my sister friend.

     
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    cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    No problem, Bro. Clyde.


    We do have to preserve and spread our stories.


    My mother's family is from that region/area of GA.

    I don't know that I have any "Geechee" in me, but I might!
     
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    Clyde C Coger Jr

    Clyde C Coger Jr Clyde C. Coger, Jr. PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Not a problem cherryblossom, no not at all, for real. By the way, are you in receipt of a mic from Brother Info-metry?

     
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    Clyde C Coger Jr

    Clyde C Coger Jr Clyde C. Coger, Jr. PREMIUM MEMBER

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    In the Spirit of Sankofa!

    Bumped for a response from cherryblossom to the question about receiving the mic; sister, this is important for tracking purposes...Peace In my sister friend.


     
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    cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Yes, I did receive the mic and used it last night in Sisters Chat.
     
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    Clyde C Coger Jr

    Clyde C Coger Jr Clyde C. Coger, Jr. PREMIUM MEMBER

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    In the Spirit of Sankofa!




    ty sister cherryblossom,

    I also saw where you left a user note for me as well. Thanks for sharing with me whose next on the list to receive a mic.

     
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    cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Nearly a half a million Gullah live between Jacksonville, North Carolina and Jacksonville, Florida today. This 500 mile stretch along the Atlantic Ocean and over and between the Rivers that surround it is home to the descendants of the Africans brought to the Carolina Colony beginning in the late 1500s. They live along the interstates and corridors which sometime meander around and touch the borders of Interstate 95 and Highway 17. For nearly five centuries, their lives have been economically and politically tied to this region and the "cash crops" needed for its success whether it be rice or tourism. Places in and around Wilmington, North Carolina, Georgetown and Charleston, South Carolina, Savannah and Jacksonville, Florida figure prominently in the Gullah story from the beginning to now.

    Their origin and history began on African soil. During the slave trade, captured Africans, destined for American plantations, were often retained in holding cells along the West African coastlines. This imprisonment brought an unprecedented large number of diferrent Africans together under one roof and formed the basis for the outline and structure of what became and is called Gullah culture. .
    By the mid 1700s, these Africans dominated the slave labor force. They became the muscle and mind behind the rice and cotton industries that once lined the waters of the Carolina Slave Coast. Their knowledge of farming, rice, rice cultivation, along with their labor, made the Gullah the most desired and sought after labor of the agricultural South. These Gullah slave farmers made their owners some of the wealthiest businessmen in pre-Civil War America.

    It is popular belief that the name Gullah is a distortion of the name Angola, a region that supplied some 40% of the slaves brought to and sold at the Charleston slave market. However, some members of the Gullah community tend to associate the name with the pre American story of the Golas and the Gizzis, two cultural groups living near Liberia during the African slave trade. Members of these groups were also captured and sold in large numbers. Africans from their region along the Windward Coast entered through Charleston and were well represented in the slave population.

    In the early days, slaves reserved the name title Gullah for certain members of their communities. The name was not used in the widespread way that it is used today. At that time, it was used more as a handle or prefix as was the case of Golla Jack in the Denmark Vessey Conspiracy of 1822. Until this day, the similarities in the African and American names of these groups, the Golas (Gullah) and the Gizzis (Geechees), could very well be the source of the importance placed on whether one is called Gullah or Geechee today.

    ...cont.... http://www.ultimategullah.com/culture.html
     
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