The Legacy of Early African-Americans and the Gullah-Geechee People

This workshop focuses on the history and cultural legacy of Gullah-Geechee people of South Carolina and Georgia, descendants of enslaved people from the West Coast of Africa, who contributed to making America “A More Perfect Union,” even as they were excluded from its benefits. The Gullah-Geechee preserved more of their African traditions than other groups of early enslaved Africans in the U.S. As a result, the Gullah-Geechee people’s history, stories, beliefs, and traditions are central to the establishment of African American cultural institutions and practices, and therefore critical to understanding American society in general. The institution of slavery and the contributions of the enslaved and their descendants is foundational to the formation of the U.S. and has long been undertaught and over-simplified in K-12 curriculum.