February is Black History month. In Hilton Head, South Carolina, a facinating part of African American history (thus American history) is celebrated throughout this month. Similar to Native Americans who have continued to celebrate and live according to the traditions of their ancestors, the Gullahs in South Carolina and Georgia have continued to embrace the cultures and beliefs of their ancestors who were brought as slaves to Georgia and South Carolina from West Africa.
Each February, at the annual Gullah Celebration, Hilton Head Island, where many Gullahs still live, is a showcase of Gullah art, food, music, language and history. Visitors can head to art shows, concerts, and other performances to enjoy the rich variety of the traditions that have been kept alive for centuries–including the language. Prayers, story-telling and sermons are told in Gullah, a mix of English and African languages, that was developed by slaves as a means to communicate with each other. Today, the language functions as a way to embrace the past, as well as, influence the future.
If you head here, check out the schedule to see what’s going on each day. No matter which day or days you come, take in a variety of historical landmarks. Of note is Mitchelville, the first freed Negro township. The store De Gullah Creations, open year round, is a place to purchase Gullah art and crafts and learn more about the culture.