Saturday, August 20, 2011

My Kinda Americans


According to John Henrik Clarke, The survival of African people away from their ancestral home is one of the great acts of human endurance in the history of the world. If this is true then the Gullah people are nothing short of amazing. 
During the slave trade, captured Africans, destined for American plantations, were often retained in holding cells along the West African coastlines. This imprisonment brought together various Africans together under one roof and formed the basis for the outline and structure of  Gullah culture. It is popular belief that the name Gullah is a distortion of the name Angola, a region that supplied some 40% of the slaves brought to and sold at the Charleston slave market. 
Nearly a half a million Gullah live on a 500 mile stretch along the Atlantic Ocean. They are the descendants of the Africans brought to the Carolina Colony beginning in the late 1500s. For nearly five centuries, their lives have been economically and politically tied to this region and the "cash crops" needed for its success whether it be rice or tourism.

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