Challenges along the Lowcountry Heritage Corridor – Preserving the Gullah lifestyle while limiting development to these pristine island destinations along Georgia’s coast dating back to pre-colonial 1732. The National Park Service may just have the answer.
Five years ago, the National Park Service initiated a study of the Gullah-Geechee heritage within those barrier island communities that these unique clusters of people live along the Georgia and South Carolina coastal corridor with their own 200+ year old tradition. “We want to explore all aspects of this group that became part of our nation’s history,” according to one Park Service official source. “Ultimately the study might identify new additions to our National Park Service so we can share the Gullah-Geechee story with all Americans.”
And what a story it is. For more than two centuries, these West African descendants that embody their ancestors rich heritage of spirituality and artistry have lived in isolated coastal conclaves passing down their oral African culture and traditions from generation to generation. Today, these traditions are under assault as the outside world threatens to absorb this rich culture as bridges and roads have opened up the same once pristine areas to the rampant land development that is taking place up and down the eastern seaboard. Resorts, subdivisions, and strip malls are rapidly replacing family farms.
Park Service officials went on to say “unless something is done to halt the destruction, Gullah-Geechee culture will be relegated to museums and history books, and our nation’s unique cultural heritage will lose one of it’s richest and most colorful pieces. Family Cemeteries, archaeological sites, and fishing grounds are being paved over or put off limits by new owners and familiar landmarks such as stores, churches, schools, and houses are being demolished or replaced with new structures."
As a consequence of all of this, The National Historic Trust has placed those Gullah-Geechee coastal communities on their most endangered list in what we not only support here at Savannah Getaways but trust proves to be an effective strategy in saving the historically significant low country heritage of this highly adaptive and diverse culture.