Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Geechee Or Gullah

I got a very interesting history lesson on the origins of a local culture today. As it turns out, the people I have always heard about in the past. Turned out not to be who I thought they were. Heck, I might even be part Geechee myself. I always wondered exactly where the word came from, and exactly who they were talking about. Thanks to local author Dwight Fryer, I know better now. A book has been written explaining where this strange dialect and group of people came from.

Something I found quite humorous. All this time, what I thought was a lack of sophistication. As it turns out, it was me who didn't know the score. I was reminded of the way my grandmother always called shrimp, "schwimp." As children we always had a good laugh at her expense. Turns out the joke was on us, not her. As it turns out that was what the Gullah called them. This is the textbook description of what a Geechee is : The Gullah and Geechee are descendants of West African slaves who were brought to America to work the cotton plantations and develop rice crops. Because of the relative isolation of the sea islands, much of their culture is intact today, especially on Sapelo Island, Georgia, and St. Helena Island, South Carolina.

The pictures, I thought caught the essence of this story. They took me back to a day I've only heard about from others like my grandmother. When I saw the picture of the older lady above. I thought about Ms. Ency and all the elderly women I've met over the years. Click on the link below, read more and see more pictures:

I found Dwight Fryer's story quite inspiring. I was impressed with him on his second book as well. "The legend of Quito Road." I like how he has taken something that was there all the time, like his family history. And used it to further develop his passion. Go to his website:



Blogger Blinders Off said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:29 PM  
Blogger Blinders Off said...

I miss read your post...you must have went to Cordova Library to see him.

2:06 AM  
Blogger Common said...

Blinders Off,

I heard him on the radio. You can go to his website and see where he will be appearing.

1:24 PM  
Blogger Blinders Off said...


You would really enjoy hearing him in person. I had him as our book club guest last year for "The Legend of Quito Road". He will be our guest again in April for "The Knees of Gullah Island".

If you enjoyed listening to him over the radio you should go hear him in person. He is a fantastic speaker in person.

2:15 PM  
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