Should NPS Rescue Gullah Culture?
Just the other day I was mentioning the fervor in some corners of Congress to give the National Park Service more properties to tend to. And now I've come across legislation drafted to create the "Gullah/Geechee National Heritage Area" in the Southeast.
What is Gullah and Geechee? It's the language and culture that grew up in the Sea Islands near Hilton Head, South Carolina, during the slave trade of the 1800s. While "Gullah" is associated with South Carolina, "Geechee" is tied to Georgia and Florida.
According to a story in Hilton Head's Island Packet, the legislation to create the heritage area was spawned by a five-year study that researchers say is the largest ever done on the status of the Gullah culture.
Representative James Clyburn of South Carolina introduced legislation last March to create the heritage area. As proposed, the Gullah-Geechee Heritage Act would provide up to $1 million annually for a decade to pay for projects that would "protect and enhance the cultures in the area from northern Florida to Wilmington, North Carolina.