Johns Island, SC
Sharon Cooper-Murray, “The Gullah Lady”, winnowing rice
Queen Quet is the chieftess of the Gullah-Geechee Nation. The Post & Courier did this interesting Q&A with her in September of 2009.
This campaign is to help fund & support residents & descendants in the Hog Hammock Community of Sapelo Island who are facing property tax increases of over 600%.
This is not strictly Charleston-related, but those who care and are interested in Charleston’s own Gullah people and culture will care about that of Sapelo Island as well. This is a worthy cause, a chance to do real good in fighting an economic injustice while helping save a vanishing culture. I know times are hard and there’s not much extra to give, but consider giving a few bucks at least. And if you are well off or know those who are, then maybe this would be a good idea for, shall we say, a moral investment.
In 2018. Charleston will open…
If done correctly, this may be the first site in Charleston to openly acknowledge the horrors of slavery…unlike plantations, which usually hurry you right by the slave quarters to get back to the beautiful architecture of the antebellum south. I’m a little skeptical by the site’s use of the word “migration” to describe the slave trade, but encouraged by a museum that includes Gullah culture and much more about the actual lives about black people in Charleston. I don’t know; Hopefully it’s done right and spurs a shift in Charlestonian historical-tourism that leans away from the romanticization of the plantation and slavery…
Just to clarify a couple of things: I assume you’re talking about where their website says “The Great Migration and the Diaspora”. If you read that particular page, you’ll see that the migration they refer to is not the triangular trade, but rather the migrations of freed slaves from the South to the North after the Civil War. Also, while I still haven’t been to Boone Hall, none of the other plantations in Charleston have ever “hurried me right by” the slave quarters. In fact, Middleton Place has an entire tour of the areas lived in and worked by the slaves, which is very detailed in various aspects of their lives, and highly fascinating. At Magnolia, they stop at the slave quarters in one of their tours, encouraging you to go into the houses and think about what living in such conditions would mean. As for Drayton Hall, I don’t believe (though I could be wrong) that they even have any slave quarters surviving on their property.
There’s also the Old Slave Mart Museum on Chalmers downtown, which is the actual site (not the City Market, as is widely and incorrectly believed) where slaves were sold in Charleston. This is now an actual museum you can tour which focuses on African American history in Charleston, and pays a lot of attention to the slave trade.
Aside from that, I agree with you. Charleston does need more focus on the history of slavery and how it continues to affect African Americans even to this day. I saw your reference to the Smithsonian as well. Are you referring to the Slavery and Freedom exhibit? If so, you might or might not already know that an actual slave cabin from a local plantation (not one that you can actually tour) on Edisto Island, the Point of Pines Plantation, has been donated and moved to Washington to be part of the exhibit. Walter Edgar did a whole episode on this on his radio show, and there are some really fascinating stories he and his guests tells about the project. I’d really like to see this as well.
Title: Gullah Storytelling: "Com-yah and Bin-yah"
Artist: Sharon Cooper Murray
A folktale performed by Sharon Cooper Murray at Middleton Place. (In Gullah and English.)
Boy and his bike
Johns Island, SC
Abandoned sweetgrass basket stand
Mount Pleasant, SC
This old stand is actually right in front of the abandoned house that I posted some time back. It is a relic from the days when sweetgrass basket makers sold their wares in their own dront yards.