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Billie Burn Museum

Gullah Festival

Gullah History

African American culture in Beaufort County, South Carolina is synonymous with Gullah culture. This fascinating Gullah culture evolved with the arrival of slaves to the South Carolina coastal islands. Forced to survive under difficult circumstances in an unfamiliar environment, slaves used the knowledge and language they brought with them from Africa. African dialect and customs were merged with European dialect and customs to form Gullah – a hybrid of the two.

Another school of thought is that slaves were brought here from a part of Africa known as Angola, resulting in them being known as Gullahs.  All along the South Carolina coast, slaves and their descendents became known as Gullahs. The Gullah culture reflects the people, their language and their customs – everything from food gathering and preparation and beliefs in herbal medicines to basket-weaving and worshiping. Although not widely spoken, the dialect can still be heard among some elders in various coastal communities; or in stories shared among families.