Coastal waters, sandy beaches, the aroma of the salt water mixed with the air, and the healing traditions pasted down from generations to generations. We are Gullah Geechee, we are the descendants of West Africans that were brought to America and enslaved. Empowered with the gift of healing, through the understanding of the water, land and sky, we are Gullah. Hello, my name is Jacqueline Williams, and this is my Gullah Roots story.
The Gullah Geechee people are descendants of mainly West Africa, they were brought to this country for the purposes of using their knowledge of controlling the water and working the land. In the area where I am from enslaved Africans worked the rice, cotton, and indigo plantations located along the coastal lands.
Because of the small, isolated islands and coastal plantations in our area, it created opportunities for great wealth to be amass as a result of the slave trade. Georgetown,S.C., was the seat of wealth for the South from 1825 to the 1930's because of the rice culture. Our West African ancestors were known as some of the first STEM practitioners in America. Somehow, in a strange land, we managed to remain connected to the land and sea for our survival. The connection to land and sea helped to feed our ancestors when they were hungry and cured them when they fell ill.
All along the coastal region we have managed to preserve the rich heritage of our ancestors as Gullah Geechee people, from Florida, Georgia, South and North Carolina Coastland we are Gullah and proud of our rich history here in America. Our language is a unique blend of West African Languages blended with creole, Portuguese, and English. I enjoy the art of storytelling which is one of the areas that we are gifted in, hearing my elders recall the stories told to them by the granny midwives, tradesmen and women who traded animal skins and herbs. The power of healing through herbal medicine has been one of the greatest gifts that I have had the pleasure of listening to and learn from the Griots. Learning herbal medicine from my Big Momma was a magical time in my life, she kept a family of 12 well with herbs from the land. The flavors of our foods are reminiscent of West Africa like Gumbo, okra soup and we can't forget red rice, the rhythm of our music is the response of the drums calling us from our homeland. From the creativity in our art, basket weaving, to herbal medicine, using the land and sea for the care of our skin and bodies has and always will be a part of who we are, and that is our ancestors' dreams realized.
It is so important for us to teach, share and preserve this rich unique culture and all of our beautiful traditions. Well, thank you for visiting with us and coming along on this journey to self-care and discovery. Stay tuned for more blogs.
Love, Light, Peace, Joy and Healing