MURRELLS INLET, SC - (WMBF) The Gullah Geechee culture derives from West Africa. The descendants of enslaved Africans who lived in the low country regions of South Carolina have distinct beliefs and practices that have now become woven into the fabric of the American cloth.
For Black History Month Brookgreen Gardens is honoring that culture with special programs, exhibits, and lectures.
The artworks tells a story of a rich and vibrant heritage. The Education room in the Lowcountry Building is filled with everything that is part of the Gullah Geechee culture.
On one side of the room, you can see the remnants of the rice culture, a series aerial photographs captured by Charleston photographer, David Shriver Soliday.
Ron Daise, Vice President for Creative Education said, "These are aerial photographs of the former rice fields that span the Gullah Geechee Heritage Corridor, from Wilmington, North Carolina down throughout South Carolina, all the way down to Georgia, all the way down to Saint Augustine, Florida.
Daise said the skills and knowledge that were brought to this area for the production of rice is a major part of the legacy passed on in the culture.
On the opposite side of the room, one can not miss the bright and energetic artwork. Gullah Culture... Remembering While Evolving exhibit features the colorful pieces of Patricia Sabree, a Lake City native, who visually shares her Gullah experiences while growing up on a farm with 15 brothers and sister.
"In her art, there are depictions of the culture, making of sweet grass baskets," explained Daise. "There are different beliefs that are depicted in her art."
Daise explained the colors are bold, strong, and energetic, all spirits of the culture, it shows that despite the institution of slavery the people were spirited people.
Daise added, "There is the music, that has been handed down from West Africa, there's a spirituality and there is also cultural beliefs and practices."
For the month of February the facility has a series of lectures, programs and interactive cultural games planned to teach people about the culture.
Daise said, "Gullah Geechee culture is so etched in southern culture, it's such a major influence to American culture that that is the emphasis of all that we do in the interpretation hear at Brookegreens to share this knowledge."
The photo and art exhibits are on display until March 13. For a complete list of all the schedule programs and lectures for the month of February you can click here.