Created to preserve, promote, and perpetuate Gullah Geechee culture and traditions
The Gullah Society was established in 2012 by Dr. Ade Ofunniyin, with the aim of providing Gullah Geechee people with skills in identifying and preserving sites, historical data, artifacts, and objects associated with Gullah Geechee people and culture, for the benefit and education of all. We work with communities to raise awareness and to preserve African descendant burial grounds, identity and history.
A Letter from our Board Chair
August 17, 2021
Dear Gullah Society Friends and Community Partners:
Thank you for being a supporter of The Gullah Society. Without you, the organization would not have been able to fulfill its mission of preserving, promoting and perpetuating Gullah Geechee culture over the past seven years.
Dr. Ofunniyin’s passing in October 2020 was devastating for the board, staff, and supporters. In the past ten months, the board has endeavored to find a path forward, all while the staff has carried on the great work he started. Most recently, staff and supporters have fought to protect the burial grounds at 88 Smith Street and have worked with researchers at the University of Pennsylvania on the groundbreaking genealogy study of the remains found during the re-construction of the Gaillard Center.
It is with great sadness that I am writing to inform you that the board has decided to dissolve the organization effective immediately. This decision was not made lightly, but only after careful consideration of the financial and administrative requirements necessary to move the organization forward.
All contributions to The African American Cemeteries Fund has been moved to The Preservation Society which will continue working with the Church of Latter Day Saints, IAAM, and others to protect African American burial sites across the region. If you contributed to the Fund this year, the charitable donation receipt you have already received will suffice for 2021 tax year filing purposes. Remaining funds will be donated to the International African American Museum in Dr. O’s memory for the important genealogy research and family heritage work they are conducting. We are proud of the work The Gullah Society has done to bring these issues to the forefront of public understanding and we believe these organizations and others will lead the cause as well as other concerned citizens of the community who will carry on this work in his honor.
Dr. O led an inspired and passionate movement to honor the Gullah ancestors and acknowledge our Gullah heritage and you were all an important part of that movement. We thank you for your belief in Dr. O and to the Gullah Society and appreciate your understanding.
Johanna Martin-Carrington Board Chair
LATEST NEWS: Georgetown Reinternment Photos Sunday, May 23, 2021
A recent message from Rovena Owens, who visited Zion Cemetery, on Monrovia Street, to find the burials of her great grandfather, his mother-in-law and other relatives, illustrates the importance of this work.
"I am excited that someone has interest in this cemetery. It took me a while to find it and I was so unhappy to see its condition. I have found death certificates that say that they [eight relatives] were buried at Zion Presbyterian Cemetery. I have not found one for Sidney Eckhardt yet. He was my Grandfather's uncle. He was in the state legislature during reconstruction. He was referred to by the family as "The Senator". I did read that he partook in a streetcar sit-in I think during the 1860s. He also held an office in the Segar Makers Association. Sidney died in Florida but I think that he was brought back to be buried in Zion with his wife and family. My mother attended the funeral of her aunt Henrietta Rodrigues in 1952 and said that the cemetery was in bad shape then."
"If possible I would like to see these graves for myself. I could not find them when I went into there a few years ago. Thanks so much to you and the Gullah Society for doing this."
(Rovena Owens Aug 6, 2017)
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