Office of the Provost
and Vice President for Academic Affairs

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

In recognition of this rich cultural heritage, the Gullah Geechee Heritage Center at Georgia Southern University will aid in the preservation of a dying culture; honor myriad contributions made by Gullah Geechee people; and provide educational resources for faculty, students, and the surrounding community. The center will be located on Georgia Southern’s Savannah campus.

The Center will be a community anchor that focuses on Gullah Geechee people and connects the past and present through interaction and outreach across generations.  The physical space, combined with the knowledge and ideas of the community, is designed to instill pride, increase awareness and understanding, sustain preservation of language and cultural assets, and serve as a vehicle to tell the Gullah Geechee story to the surrounding community and beyond.

The works of a Gullah blacksmith in Savannah.

To this end, the Office of the Provost seeks to partner with the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission in the creation of a recognized Cultural Heritage Center. 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

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.

Last updated: 11/4/2020

Office of the Provost • PO Box 8022, Statesboro, GA 30460 • 912-478-5258