Signs to celebrate Gullah Geechee culture mark Highway 17

LITTLE RIVER, SC (WMBF) - If you drive down Highway 17, you're going to notice some new historical markers along the road.

That's because a new sign stands, to remind drivers they're passing through the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor.

The sign may be small but the significance is big. It stands reminding those who enter Horry County, we are part of a nationally recognized heritage area. An accomplishment celebrated Thursday, in Little River. where the new sign stands.

The Gullah Geechee Heritage Corridor, welcomed by congress less than a decade ago and kept alive by the Gullah Geechee people.

Now, 49 signs stretch from Pender County, North Carolina to St. Augustine, Florida.

The Gullah Geechee say when you drive down US-17, you're on a cultural journey. The same roads the signs sit on, are the ones their people worked along. Signs, tangible outcomes of the culture which the people hope will live on as the Grand Strand continues to grow.

"We want them to see that the Gullah Geechee people helped to build this region, they were prime farmers with the rice industry that was big and the tourism industry that is today's cash crop," says Veronica D. Gerald, Gullah Geeche Cultural Heritage Corridor Commissioner.

Behind every sign is a story.

"When they came to this area they helped build the story of the South Carolina lowcountry, and that's important that every story is told," says Gerald.

Like the story of her great grandmother who worked right on the Brookgreen Plantation.

"She was a wonderful weaver for cloth and indigo and she had blue hands because you would put your hands in the indigo and that sort of thing and she lived to be 105," she says.

She hopes these signs help the stories of the gullah people live even longer.

This is only one of the new signs, a second is located in Murrells Inlet at the Georgetown / Horry County border, another place to reflect on the history, hard work and heritage of the Gullah people.

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