Gullah Society awarded grant from the Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina to preserve sacred burial grounds
Gullah Society was awarded a $2,500.00 grant to purchase the equipment necessary for the survey and documentation of burial grounds. This equipment includes; a drone (for aerial photography), shovels, line levels, measuring tape, sifting screens, brooms, buckets, a wheelbarrow, stakes, archival bags and conservation materials.
Over the past year we have continued to work with the New First Missionary Baptist Church on Edisto Island in documenting their burial ground. We have provided the Church with a report, an inventory of burials, and map that allows friends and relatives to locate the burials of loved ones. We have also forged partnerships with Union Baptist Church, New Life in Christ Baptist Church, Zion Olivet Presbyterian Church, the City of Charleston, Dixie King Street Investors LLC (owners of the property across the street from the Monrovia Street cemeteries listed above), and Boomtown (which is located on this property).
Through these partnerships we have created a plan to assist and train community volunteers in the clearing of vegetation around these sensitive sites, and in recording, documenting, repairing and conserving grave markers. We will also provide these Churches with an inventory of burials, with additional genealogical research, so that families are now able to find and access the burials of relatives.
To further our outreach in communities we used funds provided by the Coastal Community Foundation for promotional materials, such as the website, business cards, a PO Box and posters.
Staff archaeologists, Jeremy C. Miller and Taryn P. Ricciardelli, presented these posters at the 7th annual Archaeological Conference for the South Carolina Lowcountry, held at the College of Charleston, April 8th 2017. These posters detailed our work at the New First Methodist Baptist Church Cemetery and for the DeReef Park history harvest project. For this project, we worked with the City of Charleston, to help record community history through interviews and the collection of photographs and ephemera. The purchase of the digital voice recorder will be used to collect oral histories from communities and in recording stories about relatives buried at the cemeteries that we document.
The posters were also used at a public screening of ‘The New York African Burial Ground’ documentary, held at the Charleston County Library on Calhoun Street on May 22 and June 2, 2017. The Gullah Society hosted this educational screening of the 2009 documentary about the 18th century African burial ground discovered in New York City in 199. The purpose of this event was to provide an opportunity for conversation about the future commemoration of the African graves discovered at Charleston Gaillard Center in 2013, including a possible location for the reinterment of the thirty seven individuals once buried at the site. We are now working with the City of Charleston to ensure that an appropriate memorial and ceremony is planned for the reinterment.
Community & History News
You will find articles and videos about the connection and history of the Gullah Geechee culture as well as what's happening now. Enjoy!