An Ongoing Project Documenting the Lives and Culture of the Gullah Geechee People
The Sea Islands of South Carolina are home to a culture that is being consumed by golf courses, resorts and million-dollar homes. That culture is known as Gullah (known as Geechee in Georgia and Florida).
The Gullah Geechee people are direct decedents of enslaved Africans who were brought to the islands from West Africa. After arriving in America, these uprooted men and women created their own community steeped in religion and African traditions. They also formed their own language also known as Gullah – a mix of Elizabethan English and African languages.
When slavery was abolished in 1863, the Gullah Geechee people of the Sea Islands remained on the land after slave owners abandoned the area. They continued their traditions – making sea grass baskets, burying their dead by the shore, farming vegetables and fruits and living life simply. Having lived this way for decades, the Gullah are believed to be the most authentic African American community in the United States.
But development is now taking over these once isolated lands and consuming the Gullah Geechee way of life.
Along the Gullah Geechee Coast, I plan to continue documenting how development and ignorance are destroying the Gullah Geechee culture. Through images and text, I plan to focus on the challenges the Gullah Geechee people face as they cling to their traditions and land while adjusting to the “progress” that is imposed upon them.
My goal is to show the photography as a traveling exhibit and to publish this story on the Internet.
Telling this story will emphasize the importance of preserving this culture and enlighten those who don’t even know it exists.
FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO SUGGEST SUBJECTS FOR THIS PROJECT
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Please feel free to contact me at the email address below if you have questions about this project. I will do my best to answer or point you in the right direction.
If you have information that you feel would advance this project, I welcome the input.
Email: Pete [at] www.petemarovichimages.com