Skip to main content

The Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Center

Introduction

The Gullah Geechee peoples of Coastal Georgia are descendants of enslaved Africans from plantations along the lower Atlantic coast. Many came from the rice-growing region of West African and were brought to the Americas for their agricultural and architectural knowledge and skills. The enslaved Africans were isolated on the Sea Islands. This isolation enabled them to create and maintain a unique culture steeped in remnants of Africa. This culture became known as Gullah-Geechee and is visible in the people’s distinctive arts, crafts, foodways, use of waterways, music, dance, and language. 


The Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Center at Georgia Southern

Mission Statement: The Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Center celebrates and preserves Gullah Geechee culture along the South Georgia region of the Gullah Geechee Corridor. We are a community anchor that focuses on Gullah Geechee people and connects the past and present through interaction, academic research, and outreach across generations. The physical space, combined with the knowledge and ideas of the community instills pride, increases awareness and understanding, sustains preservation of language and cultural assets, and serves as a vehicle to tell the Gullah Geechee story to the surrounding community and beyond. The Center honors myriad contributions made by Gullah Geechee people, provides educational resources for all, promotes scholarship and research, and serves as a model for national reconciliation and reparations.

In 2021, the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission recognized the Georgia Southern University Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Center as an approved partner. The Corridor was designated by the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Act, passed by Congress on October 12, 2006.  The Corridor stretches across 27 counties in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. 

Academic Research and the Gullah Geechee

The Georgia Southern University Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Center celebrates and preserves Gullah Geechee culture through focusing on academic research and community outreach. 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. Click here to learn more.

In the News

June 2022: In June 2022, the Director, Dr. Maxine L. Bryant, was recognized by the Georgia Press Association (GPA) for her work in preserving Gullah Geechee Culture.  Dr. Bryant is a freelance contributor for the Savannah Morning News.  Her columns, which focus on Gullah Geechee culture in the Low Country, won 2nd place in the Serious Column Category in the GPA Better Newspaper Contest at a recent GPA conference.  Congratulations to Maxine!  

June 2022: The Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Center hosted its second annual Juneteenth celebration on Friday, June 17 with a series of educational and interactive performances including dances, music, storytelling, and lectures, and featuring local food trucks and businesses. Many thanks to the presenters, vendors, and especially our guests for joining us for this fun and informative celebration. We look forward to seeing you again next year!

September 2021: Georgia Southern University has established the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Center to aid in the preservation of this fluctuating culture, honor the myriad contributions made by Gullah Geechee people and provide educational resources for faculty, students and the surrounding community. Read the press release here.

Location

The center is located on Georgia Southern’s Savannah campus in the Armstrong Center, Room 102, 13040 Abercorn Street, Savannah, GA, 31419.
Directions to the Armstrong Center

Gullah Geechee exhibit at the Georgia Southern Museum

Georgia Southern Museum

The Georgia Southern University Museum’s permanent exhibit on the cultural history of Georgia’s coastal plain includes a variety of Gullah Geechee artifacts including basketry and an early 19th century rice mortar and pestle. The Museum’s exhibits and collections focus on unique stories of cultural exchange in the coastal plain and their interaction with the environment including agriculture, music, foodways, and more. The Museum is located in the Rosenwald Building on the Statesboro campus and is always free to Georgia Southern University students.  Visit the Georgia Southern Museum in Statesboro for more information.

Last updated: 7/1/2022