Sunday, December 17, 2006

Gullah/Geechee Celebration

I was honored to speak at the 10th Anniversary Celebration of the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition yesterday in Charleston. Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation, led the participants in prayer and the day began with a viewing of a powerful and informative documentary, Will to Survive - The Story of the Gullah/Geechee Nation, part of Wal-Mart's Voices of Color series. I hope many people get a chance to watch this educational film!

I read excerpts from my upcoming novel, The Spirit of Sweetgrass, and shared the origins of my book--a spiritual journey that still fills me with awe and wonder. Next, a lovely woman and author of "I'm Black and I'm Proud," Wished the White Girl, Lynn Bryant-Markovich, told of her experiences growing up on St. Helena Island in a mixed family and embedded in and embraced by the Gullah community. Fascinating.
So much progress in the form of protections of Gullah/Geechee land, rights and culture has been made since the inception of the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition ten years ago. It will be exciting to watch the future of this group and of the Gullah/Geechee people as a whole.
My protagonist, Essie Mae, would be mighty proud.

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