Arts & Entertainment

Preserving Gullah History and Culture

Welcome to the Gullah and the Gullah Islands. The Gullah Islands are historically a region that spanned the Coastal Plains and Sea Islands of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida- the whole area is also known as the Gullah Geechee Corridor. The residents are called the Gullahs and they are the descendants of the enslaved West Africans who lived in the region prior to and since the Civil War. They known for preserving their African cultural heritage and linguistics more than any other African American community in the United States. The Gullah language, called Geechee is a mix of English Creole that contain many African influenced words, grammar and sentence structure.

gullah islandmap

Most people are not aware that the vast majority of slaves arrived in America through the sea islands of South Carolina, the birthplace of our Gullah culture. Anita Singleton-Prather is changing that one story and performance at a time by showcasing and promoting the history of these treasured African Americans.

Anita-in-African-Dress1

Singleton-Prather, is a native of the Sea Islands in Beaufort County, South Carolina and is known as The First Lady of Gullah™ . She’s a master storyteller, singer, actress, educator and historian, known along the South Carolina coast for her educational performances about Gullah History. She’s also the founder, director and producer of the musical performance group the Gullah Kinfolk. She plays a character, she created based on her grandmother called, “Aunt Pearlie Sue” who entertains and educates the audience with Gullah inspired folktales about the African experience in America for over the last ten years.

circle-unbroken

It is based on these performances and love of the Gullah culture that Singleton-Prather partnered with Ron Small to co- write and co-produce Circle Unbroken: A Gullah Journey from Africa to America. Part musical and part documentary, it chronicles the South Carolina Gullah history and culture in significant locations like parts of Sea Island and Beaufort, S.C. The documentary was picked up by PBS in 2015 for distribution nationwide on the network and will run for three years, ensuring as many people can partake of this rich heritage.

If you are interested in learning more about Gullah culture visit Gulla.TV or Gullah Heritage Trail Tours.