Our Gullah Influence Comes to Life

As we celebrate Black History Month, we take a look at the Lowcountry’s Gullah heritage. We’re hosting a Gullah Tour with local expert Alphonso Brown (pictured) on Saturday, Feb. 25.

Learn about black slave owners, slave uprisings, the Gullah language, hexes and local legend Phillip Simmons. Brown is the author of “A Gullah Guide to Charleston” and regularly lectures on the Gullah language and black history of Charleston. Over the years, his tours have been featured in Charleston magazine, Southern Living, Reader’s Digest and more, so you’re in for a real treat and true history lesson.

To get you started, here’s a bit about the Gullah language from Brown’s website:
– Gullah is an English-based, creolized language spoken by the slaves in South Carolina and Georgia. It is not a written language. Along with many of the African and English words and expressions, it also contains some other foreign languages or whatever could be picked up, depending on the nationality of the slave owner. The word “Gullah” is believed to be a mispronunciation of the African word “Gora” or “Gola,” which were names of tribes living in Sierra Leone, West Africa. The Via people, or Gala, or Gallinas are believed to be the African connection for the Gullah people in the Sea Islands of the Lowcountry.

The tour begins at 10 a.m. at 43 John St. in downtown Charleston near the Visitor’s Center. Space is limited so register early!

In what ways are you marking Black History Month? How familiar are you with Gullah culture in the Charleston area?

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