Gullah Geechee Research and Education
With education as a key component of the Gullah Geechee Heritage Center, it is important to note that Gullah Geechee people made significant contributions to disciplines within each of the nine colleges that comprise Georgia Southern University:
Gullah Geechee People have impacted the artforms in the U.S. and the world. The Shout is the oldest African rhythm in the US. The Ring Shout is the oldest African performance tradition in the US. The culture is one of the richest pieces of the tapestry of American History. Gullah is the only African based language in the US. Gullah Geechees were once multilingual. The late Sam Doyle was a visual artist who captured the community and the people.
Gullah Geechee were a part of the formation of the colony of Georgia (now known as Savannah). The men out of Charleston, and Beaufort, South Carolina had engineering and mathematical skills. Traditions from Africa are infused in the construction, design, and architecture of the corridor due to Gullah Geechee people. Additionally, the engineering skills of Gullah Geechee men were responsible for the design of First Bryan and First African churches in downtown Savannah. First African Baptist and First Bryan Baptist churches (in addition to others) are testimonies to their skill sets, knowledge and intellect.
Zora Neale Hurston, known as a writer, was an Anthropologist. She encouraged others to join her in unlocking the African traditions that were still carried on by the people in this area. Concepts of justice, moral conduct, and democracy were a part of the Praise House or Society experience. Gullah Geechees engaged in the designing of topography – land, and landscape.
Susie King Taylor was educated in one of the underschools that operated in Savannah to educate Gullah Geechees. She would later educate Union Soldiers during the Civil War. Taylor operated schools in Savannah and on St. Simons Island after the war.
In “Hidden Figures” a group of African American female mathematicians are recognized for their contribution to the space program. Additionally, Gullah Geechee mathematicians from the low country of Georgia contributed to the beginning of the space program.
Dr. Charles Buggs of Brunswick, Georgia was a microbiologist and educator who conducted some of the earliest research on bacteria and their resistance to certain medications. Dr. Buggs was a friend of Dr. Charles Drew, the discoverer of a method to store blood plasma.
Gullah Geechees have been intimately involved in the domestic economy of the US and international economies since the very beginning. They have been entrepreneurs for centuries. At one the wealthiest Black banks in the U.S., the Wage Earner, was located in Savannah, GA.
Susie King Taylor served as a nurse during the Civil War for Union forces. Taylor, recalls her life in her memoir, the most prominent book written by a Black woman regarding the Civil War. Gullah Geechees were astute regarding holistic medicines and treatments.
Gullah Geechees are some of the first presidents of southern universities or colleges after the Civil War. They would be major proponents for increased primary, secondary, postsecondary and graduate opportunities.
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