Sunday, March 11, 2012

Gullah days at Charles Pinckney NHS

The Charles Pinckney Historical Site in Mt. Pleasant is currently hosting a Saturday series on the Gullah culture that is a part of the history of the African American community in the coastal area of the southeastern United States.

Our family stopped to learn and appreciate this unique culture. We learned how this culture has a unique way of speaking and there is even a New Testament translated into the Gullah dialect when we visited Wycliffe Translators in Orlando. During our visit to Charles Pinckney we learned further how Christianity was fully embraced by this culture when they were brought over as slaves, and how their faith helped shape their culture and gave them the resolve to walk through the dark days of slavery and later segregation.

A male choir from a local church sang some songs for the crowd gathered at the site and we also heard from a local artisan who makes sweetgrass baskets. These amazing baskets are weaved from local grasses and pine needles and have been a hallmark of the local culture for over three hundred years. All over Mt. Pleasant and Charleston you can see sweetgrass baskets for sale at roadside stands and at the Charleston outdoor market.

Also on display was a cast-net maker and a toy and quilt maker who displayed and talked to visitors about their craft. We also took the time to learn a little about Charles Pinckney, who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the first governor of South Carolina. His home was pretty modest, we were expecting a huge, sprawling mansion. I guess back then all the politicians weren't mega-millionaires.

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