Gullah Geechee People of Horry County to welcome new historical markers


HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - People passing through Highway 17 will notice two new historical and cultural signs on the road.

The Gullah Geechee people of Horry County and members of the Horry County Government will welcome these two historical markers at the South Carolina border entering the county from North Carolina and near Murrells Inlet, at the border between Georgetown and Horry Counties. The purposes of the signs are to let drivers know that they are traveling along the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor. "The presence of these signs today represents a lot of hard work that came before them. The work began in the early 1980s when most of it had to do with raising awareness, telling the story and educating the people," says Veronica D. Gerald, Vice Chairman of the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Commission and English professor at Coastal Carolina University.

The National Heritage Area was created to cross the culture-nature divide and break political boundaries by blending public-private resource conservation, interpretation, and community revitalization. They pay homage to the Gullah Geechee people, their heritage and contributions to the community.

The signs will be recognized at a welcome ceremony on Thursday, June 19, 2014 at the South Carolina Welcome Center on Highway 17 North in Little River at 10 a.m. Those that plan to attend should meet there at 9:30 a.m. Members of the Horry County community, mayors, county and state officials and representatives from neighboring counties are expected to attend," said Sondra Ward, resident of Little River and chair of the Annual Little River Gullah Geechee Heritage Festival.

The corridor includes the coastal regions. It begins in Pender County, North Carolina and continues along Highway 17 to St. Augustine, Florida. This makes Horry County a part of a Heritage Area recognized nationally as number 49 of 49 other cultural designations around the country. In 1984 President Reagan signed legislation to create the first of a new kind of National Park Service (NPS) designation to cross the culture-nature divide and leap political boundaries. "I am always so impressed when I think that this recognition places us right alongside other National Heritage Areas like Niagara Falls," said Gerald.

The signs placed in Horry County are two of almost 100 signs placed along the corridor in North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina.

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