A beautiful film, and one very worth seeing.
There is no way to have a genuine conversation about Gullah/Geechee culture without talking about real estate. The impact outside development has had on the barrier islands of the Lowcountry, and the people who were there before the golf courses, is huge.
The pressure is on-going; places like Hilton Head are already built up, but other islands such as Sapelo, off the coast of Georgia, are now really feeling the heat of inflated real estate prices. Couple that money with a dwindling population and it’s easy to see that the long-time residents are facing an uphill battle.
Disclaimer: it would be disingenuous of me not to mention the islands near Savannah where I grew up. I don’t know much about the history of Wilmington Island, and I can’t find much about it right now. All I can say is that it’s a middle-class, somewhat diverse place.
The other island that I lived on, Skidaway…well…not so much. It’s very much built on the Hilton Head gated-community model, complete with one of the 18 hole golf courses being named The Plantation Course. Yep, that’s not loaded imagery at all.
I’ve finished my first book about Gullah: Gullah History Along the Carolina Lowcountry by Thomas Pyatt. This slim little book is pleasurable reading; it’s like having a quirky great-uncle telling you family stories. A great first introduction to life as it once was, and still is, in Gullah communities in South Carolina.
This being my blog and all, I am expanding the scope yet again. I’m not going to keep doing that every other week, but I will whenever I feel like it. How about that for boundaries? Anyway. I’m starting a new sub-category called “Nations within Nations”. There are lots of people in this world that have more in-depth stories of where and how they live, and it’s imperative to honor that.
So, on to the next few weeks. I wanted to wind down the year with something a little closer to home and I was presented with the perfect chance, with Georgia on my mind. I took a deep dive into the country, so now it’s time to turn to the state of the same name…
I’m going to focus on the Gullah / Geechee nation, and the influence they’ve had on the Lowcountry of the American South, and the rest of the U.S, even if most Americans might not know it. I’m fortunate to have had a small , very distant introduction to the power of this culture, having grown up in Savannah, and I’m genuinely excited to learn more.