Johns Island, SC

Have you heard of the Gullah Geechee culture and language? Until South Carolina, I had not.  The islands and coastline along South Carolina and Georgia and the top of Florida are called the Sea Islands and this is where the Gullah culture originated from.  It’s a mixed African culture and many of the residents today speak Gullah.  It is formally recognized as a language and there is even a Gullah New Testament.  We visited McLeod Plantation and got a tour where the guide, Sara, focused on the Gullah culture.  These islands along the coast were so isolated from the mainland that the enslaved people were able to hold onto their various African heritage.  I guess you can see it as a precursor to African-American culture in the US.  Many of the slave cabins were still intact and were actually rented out to tenants as late as the 1990’s!  It’s odd to think that people want to have their weddings in former plantations right next to slave quarters.  As I was passing by a large oak tree, a woman asked me if I thought this would be a nice place for a wedding- more out loud to herself- not really to ask my opinion.  After the plantation we visited a large oak tree called Angel Oak which is about 400-500 years old.

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