The origin and history of the Gullah culture started from West Africa when the Africans were traded into slavery. With strength and survival, the Africans mixed their heritage with the low country cultures of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida coastal areas. A twist of these cultures birth Gullah. Gullah preserved the two worlds in new distinctive ways in language, arts, crafts, traditions, cooking, storytelling, basket weaving, blacksmithing, fish netting, quilting, soap making and more.
The term Gullah is still debatable today as there are some who would say it was derived from the Gola tribe in Liberia or the Angola tribe in West Africa. After slave masters realized the best areas to obtain slaves, the Golas and the Angolians were among the best for enslavement producing the possible name Gullah.
The term Geechee derives from those near the Ogeechee river in Georgia. Later on that term extends to some who live in South Carolina. Geechee is more specific in these areas, but Gullah represents everyone. Therefore, you may see the term Gullah-Geechee for the sake of inclusion.
Gullah-Geechee is a language spoken in significant influences from English and several African languages. Some still speak it and is a lot of fun to listen to. In food, you will find many seafood dishes because of the Gullah people living in the coastal areas. You may also find many gumbos and one pot dishes that derived from the need to feed several families by bringing together food scraps and spices. Telling stories or singing songs helped to relieve a hard day's work. It also helped to preserve traditions while entertaining others. In the arts and crafts you will find bold colors, wild patterns and reflections of one's life. They are famous in crafting strong, bold baskets in which they used to help harvesting rice. In Sabree's work, you will find a colorful, happier perception of the Gullah culture. Be delighted, be inspired, be in the Gullah.
To learn more about Gullah, please visit the National Park Service Research Study Report on the Gullah culture.