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First African Baptist Church,

Bibliography of Gullah and Sea Island Cultural Materials



  • This bibliography is a "work in progress": items will be added as identified, and titles will remain on the list even if lost or removed from any of the named collections (in order to retain a record of their existence).
  • ISBN/ISSN numbers included when available.
  • Items are listed alphabetically by author name within each format area.
  • Annotations signed (gmc) were written by SC Resources Librarian Grace Morris Cordial.
  • Annotations signed (fph) were written by Reference Librarian Fran P. Hays. All others were written by Information Services Coordinator Dennis Adams.
  • Items from collections or sources other than the Beaufort County Public Library System are identified by location or owner in Part Two and as links to bibliographies in Part Three.


(See also: PART TWO:


  • Bailey, Cornelia and Christena Bledsoe. God, Dr. Buzzard, and the Bolito Man : A Saltwater Geechee Talks about Life on Sapelo Island. New York : Doubleday, 2000. ISBN 0-385-49376-2. In this "cultural memoir," Bailey describes the endangered daily life in a small African-American community off the Georgia coast. These descendants of enslaved West Africans kept the folkways of their ancestors, including "signs and spritis and all kinds of magic ("Dr. Buzzard" is the force of voodoo, while the "Bolito Man" embodies the powers of luck). [BEAUFORT AND HILTON HEAD COLLECTIONS 975.8 BAI ] [dja 8/02]

  • Banks, Sara Harrell. A Net to Catch Time. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997. Cuffy, a small African-American boy, talks about his activities in Gullah time. Just before dawn, at sooner mornin’ he lies asleep dreaming of catching the moon with a fish net; at deep dusk he eats his supper of shrimp gumbo and rice, and at plat-eye prowl, it was time for him to sleep.[SC COLLECTION FICTION] [10/99 gm]

  • Black, James Gary. My Friend the Gullah. Beaufort, SC: Beaufort Book Co., 1974. The author presents stories and anecdotes from the years he spent living among the Gullah people of Beaufort, SC. Some stories are presented in dialect. [BEAUFORT SC & LOCAL HISTORY COLLECTIONS, HILTON HEAD, BLUFFTON & DALE 398.21 BLA]
    [fph 2/02]

  • Branch, Muriel Miller. The Water Brought Us: The Story of the Gullah-Speaking People. Cobblehill Books/Dutton, 1995. ISBN: 0525651853. The author tells the story of "the most 'authentic' Americans of African descent today": the creole language of Sea Islanders, times of slavery, folklore, religions and traditions from West African origins, to the present and well into the future. The many pictures and direct approach make this suitable reading for children as well as adults. [BEAUFORT SC COLLECTION, LOCAL HISTORY & CHILDREN, HILTON HEAD, BLUFFTON, DALE, & ST. HELENA ISLAND 975.79]
  • Brown, Thomas J. and Kitty Green. Lessons Learned from the Gullah Experience:Powerful Forces in Educating African-American Youth. Columbia, MD: Brown and Associates, 1998. ISBN: 1891404008. A thought-provoking discussion of contemporary public education for young black people in the Lowcountry with broader application of national scope. They argue that accommodations for multiculturalism is imperative for minority students. In the end, you may not agree with the authors but they make an interesting argument. (gmc) [SC COLLECTION 975.799]

  • Crum, Mason. Gullah: Negro Life in the Carolina Sea Islands. New York: Negro Universities Press, 1968.
    The book is described by the author as a "social history of. . . the Gullah Negroes, who live among the sea islands and the coastal region of South Carolina. [fph 2/02]

  • Daise, Ronald. De Gullah Storybook: (fa laarn fa count from 1-10). Beaufort, SC: GOG Enterprises, 1986.
    A Gullah man illustrates counting as he pursues his daily routine. [BEAUFORT SC, LOCAL HISTORY & CHILDREN'S COLLECTIONS, HILTON HEAD ISLAND LOCAL HISTORY 398.2 DAI] [fph 2/02]

  • Daise, Ronald. Little Muddy Waters. Beaufort, SC: GOG Enterprises, 1997. This children's book by the creators of Gullah, Gullah Island contains a Gullah folktale that features the title song. The story can also be found in compact disc format. [BEAUFORT SC COLLECTION & CHILDREN'S, HILTON HEAD ISLAND, ST HELENA ISLAND
    E D] [fph 2/02]

  • Daise, Ronald. Reminiscences of Sea Island Heritage. Orangeburg, S.C : Sandlapper Pub.,1986.
    Author's description: "This intimate look at Gullah culture and history documents the lifestyles, customs, superstitions and folklore of St. Helena Island, called from the memories of a proud group of Sea Island blacks. The history of these first freedmen and their descendants is a colorful, provocative story, told to a great extent in their own words and illustrated with photographs taken on the island during the late 1800s and early 1900s. The old tales, spirituals and beliefs, many of which will soon be forgotten, as third and fourth generation islanders identify less and less with their heritage, are preserved here by a native islander and presented with a dash of Sea Island flavor. [BEAUFORT SC, LOCAL HISTORY , HILTON HEAD ISLAND AND HILTON HEAD ISLAND LOCAL HISTORY 975.799 DAI] [dja 11/04]
  • Eason, Djisovi Ikukomi. "A Time of Destiny": Ifa Culture and Festivals in Ile-Ife, Nigeria and Oyotunji African Village in Sheldon, South Carolina. (Doctoral Dissertation). Ann Arbor, MI: University Microfilms, 1997. Many questions about Yoruba culture -- both in East Africa and closer to home in Beaufort County -- are discussed in this study of the Oyotunji ("New Yoruba") Movement. Comparisons of Ifa culture and festivals at the African village reveal African heritage on both sides of the Atlantic. [SC COLLECTION 306.097]
  • Epps, Edwin Carlyle. Pat Conroy and the Daufuskie Island School. (Doctoral Dissertation). Ann Arbor, MI: Universtiy Microfilms, 1993. The discussion presents four facets of this well known local incident of the late 1960s and early 1970s: "The Geographical Historical and Cultural Context of Daufuskie Island", "Pat Conroy -- The Biographical Context", The Water is Wide (Conroy’s own account, Classification Number: 372.1), and a summary of "Why Did It Happen This Way -- and What Way Did It Happen After All?". [SC COLLECTION 372.9757]
  • Ferguson, Leland. Uncommon Ground: Archaeology and Early African America, 1650-1800. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992. ISBN: 1560980583. The record of South Carolina’s earliest black population does not exist on paper, but in the remains of the slaves’ daily lives. Ferguson brings together the details of their material culture -- clay pots, buildings, food and other evidence of their lives and labors -- for a vivid picture of the Americans closest to their African origins. [SC COLLECTION 975.7]

  • Five Gullah Folktales: (A Collection of Folktales from Sea Island Elders). Beaufort, SC: Penn Center, Inc., 1993. I. "Bra Rabbit and Bra Shaak" (Shark) by Matthew Polite; II. "Bra Rabbit and de Sack ob Black Bod" (Blackbirds) by Matthew Polite; III. "Bra Rabbit and Bra Fox" by Matthew Polite; IV. "De Rabbit and de Wolf" by Jack Johnson; and V. "Peta Rabbit and de Paatridge" by Frank Brown. [BEAUFORT SC COLLECTION & CHILDREN'S COLLECTION, HILTON HEAD ISLAND SOUTH CAROLINA COLLECTION, & DALE, ST HELENA CHILDREN'S COLLECTIONS J398.2 FIV]

  • Geraty, Virginia Mixson. Gullah Night Before Christmas. Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing Co., c1998. A version of the popular Christmas classic from the Gullah cultural and linguistic perspective, this tale presents "Buh Rabbit" as Santa, while "Buh Fox" is a type of Grinch who tries to steal the gifts. The book also contains charming illustrations of the text. [BEAUFORT CHILDREN'S COLLECTION-- EG.] [fph 2/02]

  • Gonzales, Ambrose Elliott. The Black Border. Columbia, SC: State, c1922. This collection of Gullah folktales comes with a glossary of Gullah terminology. [BEAUFORT SC & ADULT COLLECTIONS, HILTON HEAD ISLAND SC & LOCAL HISTORY COLLECTIONS, & BLUFFTON LOCAL HISTORY COLLECTION 808.89 GON] [fph 2/02]

  • Gonzales, Ambrose Elliott. The Captain: Stories of the Black Border. Columbia, SC: State, c1924. This collection of short stories concerns former slaves and former slaveholders after emancipation.
    [BEAUFORT SC COLLECTION 808.89 GON] [fph 2/02]

  • Gonzales, Ambrose Elliott. With Aesop Along the Black Border. [S.l.] : Negro Universities Press. Aesop's fables are written in the Gullah language. [BEAUFORT SC AND LOCAL COLLECTIONS 398.21 GON] [fph 2/02]
  • Goodwine, Marquetta L. Frum Wi Soul Tuh de Soil Cotton, Rice, and Indigo. (Gullah/Geechee: Africa’s Seed in the Winds of the Diaspora. Vol. 3) Kinship Publications, 1999). Marquetta Goodwine is rapidly becoming a prolific Beaufort County author. When she completes her planned history of Gullah culture on the Sea Islands, the work is expected to be 30 or more volumes. [SC COLLECTION 975.799] [10/99 gmc]
  • Goodwine, Margaretta L. Gullah/Geechee: The Survival of Africa’s Seed in the Winds of the Diaspora. Volume I: St. Helena’s Serenity. Kinship Publications, 1997. The first volume of a proposed thirty-book series ("an encyclopedia of Sea Island history and heritage") contains "St. Helena’s Song" "The Driver", "Sing to the Spirit", "With the Power", and "Journey On", which explore the social, cultural and religious heritage of the Gullah and Geechee people – and the legacy of colonization and slavery. Includes a bibliography. [SC COLLECTION 975.799]
  • Goodwine, Margaretta L. Gullah/Geechee: The Survival of Africa’s Seed in the Winds of the Diaspora. Volume II: Gawd Dun Smile Pun We: Beaufort Isles. Kinship Publications, 1997. Chapters in Goodwine’s second Gullah/Geechee volume are "Settling the Cities", "Marchin’ Een an Settin’ Up" and "Emancipation – Why We Still Dey Ya". [SC COLLECTION 975.799]
  • Goodwine, Margaretta L. Gullah/Geechee: The Survival of Africa’s Seed in the Winds of the Diaspora. Volume III: Frum Wi Soul Tuh De Soil: Cotton, Rice, and Indigo.. Kinship Publications, 1997. The third volume of the Gullah/Geechee series "focuses on the cash crops – cotton, rice, and indigo. These created the economic base of America and England. There is no way to focus on the story of African people in America without focusing on what their souls gave to the soil in this land." [SC COLLECTION 975.799]
  • Goodwine, Margaretta L. [Editor] The Legacy of Ibo Landing: Gullah Roots of African American Culture. Clarity Press, 1998. ISBN: 0932863256. Various authors contributed chapters on Gullah culture and history, including several pieces of fiction. The editor’s introduction is "Rebuilding the African American Community by Returning to Traditions", and other topics are the "Gullah War: 1739-1858", ancestors and family, the abiding ties to Africa, food, work, and researching the Gullah. One section contrasts a contemporary Gullah translation of a Bible passage with an African Krio text of the 17th century. [BEAUFORT SC COLLECTION, LOCAL HISTORY, HILTON HEAD ISLAND, DALE, & ST. HELENA ISLAND 975.799].

  • Green, Jonathan. The Art of Jonathan Green: A Book of Postcards. California: Pomegranate Artbooks, 1996.
    The book is a bound collection of thirty large postcards that are reproductions of Green's work. The works depict Gullah life from the artist's childhood and deal with the themes of family, community and spirituality.
    [BEAUFORT SC COLLECTION 759.13 GRE] [fph 3/02]

  • Green, Jonathan. Gullah Images: The Art of Jonathan Green. Columbia, S. C.: University of South Carolina Press, 1996. This oversized book contains vivid, full color reproductions of one hundred eighty of Green's paintings. The works depict the daily life of Gullah people who are shown engaged in the ordinary pursuits of fishing, hanging laundry, attending church and celebrating important occassions. The books begins with a forward by Pat Conroy and contains three essays: "Jonathan Green in Motion" by Bettye J. (Mbitha) Parker Smith, "Walking with His Peers: The African American Artist in the South" by Lynn Robertson, and "Gathering Light in the Gray city: The Chicago Years" by Ronne Hartfield.
  • Guthrie, Patricia. Catching Sense: African American Communities on a South Carolina Sea Island. Westport, CT: Bergin & Garvey, 1996. ISBN: 0897894251. Membership in Sea Island society is not gained by birth but through "catching sense" in a given community ("catching sense" has roots in relationships forged in childhood and in the unique shared memories of the community). Catching Sense is a study of history and contemporary life on St. Helena and other sea islands -- the neighborhood structure, household composition, property, social meaning and order, and the role of praise houses -- where local meetings during the week supplemented Sunday services in the larger churches and grievances among neighbors were settled. [SC COLLECTION 975.7]
  • Harris, Yvonne Bailey. The History of Penn School Under Its Founders at St. Helena Island, Frogmore, South Carolina, 1862-1908. (Doctoral Dissertation). Ann Arbor, MI: University Microfilms, 1979. In the early years of the institution, white philanthropists, principals and trustees created a body of written records known as "The Penn School Papers". It is these records of the black school and its community that Harris explores in depth, while discussing major events throughout the Penn facility’s history. [SC COLLECTION 370.9757]
  • Hudson, Larry E. To Have and to Hold: Slave Work and Family Life in AntebellumSouth Carolina. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1997. ISBN: 0820318302. Once the day’s assigned work was through, slaves were free to produce their own food and domestic items. Accrual of these goods meant higher status among other slaves. This limited autonomy also prepared slaves to cope with freedom, from the "internal economies" of family formation, work patterns and social values at work in the slave quarters. [SC COLLECTION 305.5]
  • Humanities School of Beaufort. Robert Smalls and His Environs. 1839-1915: Slave, Hero, Statesman. The School (with Funding from the South Carolina Humanities Council), 1999. Through an interactive curricular program, eighth graders studied past Beaufortonians, architecture and events to recreate the "environs" of Robert Smalls, toward a "sense of place". The students’ writings writings, illustrations and reflections "conjure the sites and sounds of Beaufort during the Civil War" and recall "the legacy of Robert Smalls". [SC COLLECTION BIOGRAPHY]

  • Hutchisson, James M. DuBose Heyward: A Charleston Gentleman and the World of Porgy and Bess. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2000. This biography traces the life of a southern poet, playwright, and novelist best known for the novel Porgy, that was the first to portray southern blacks in a realistic manner. Heyward worked closely with George Gershwin as the novel and subsequent play were transformed into the musical Porgy and Bess. In fact, according to this book, Heyward wrote "the libretto and half the arias" for the musical version.

  • Jones, Charles Colcock. Gullah Folktales from the Georgia Coast. Athens : University of Georgia Press, 2000. These sixty-one tales, first published in 1880 as Negro Myths of the Georgia Coast, have appeared since in many modernized versions. The forward, by Susan Millar Williams, is a biography of Jones, a white minister and former slave-owner. This collection is variously considered to be a valuable attempt to preserve the original Gullah stories, or a fraudulent amalgamation of stories fabricated by the author.[BEAUFORT SC REFERENCE & ADULT COLLECTIONS] [fph 3/02]
  • Jordan, Francis Harold. Across the Bridge: Penn School and Penn Center.(Doctoral Dissertation). Ann Arbor, MI: University Microfilms, 1991. Starting with the Port Royal Experiment after Union occupation, this study examines all stages of the history of the Penn School/Center institution.. Of particular interest: interviews with Penn School graduates and with professionals discussing "the Future of Penn". [SC COLLECTION 370.9757]
  • Kane, Sharyn and Richard Keeton. In Those Days: African-American Life Near the Savannah River. National Park Service-Southeast Region, 1994. LCCN: 94007119.Notes on book cover: "Many years ago, Louella Walker’s father played the fiddle … for the entertainment of friends and family. He taught himself to play on an old, wooden sardine box, and practiced until he could perform the popular songs of the day at festive dances called hot suppers. His story and that of his daughter are among the many true accounts of African-American life presented in (these) pages. Historic photographs accompany the reflections of these descendants of slaves …. Vanishing traditions and customs are preserved through their words, particularly the aspects of African-American life once found throughout Georgia and South Carolina." [SC COLLECTION 975.8]

  • Krull, Kathleen. Bridges to Change: How Kids Live on a South Carolina Sea Island. New York: Lodestar Books, 1995. This book, written for the elementary school reader, contains color photos and depictions of the lives of children on St. Helena Island, South Carolina and traces the African influences on their culture. [BEAUFORT SC & CHILDREN'S COLLECTIONS, HILTON HEAD ISLAND, BLUFFTON & ST HELENA ISLAND CHILDREN'S COLLECTIONS J 975.799 KRU] [fph 2/02]
  • McGuire, Mary Jennie. Getting Their Hands on the Land: The Revolution in St. Helena Parish, 1861-1900. (Doctoral Dissertation). Ann Arbor, MI: University Microfilms, 1985. Chapters include "The Wartime Experience", "The Freedman’s Bureau and Postwar Federal Action", and "St. Helena Parish After the Revolution". The extensive bibliography will interest researchers. [SC 975.799]

  • Mitchell, Faith. Hoodoo Medicine: Gullah Herbal Remedies. Columbia, SC : Summerhouse Press, 1999. The
    book begins with a brief history of the Gullah culture and the use of medicinal herbs in their African heritage, then moves to a discussion of "Indian medicine," the adoption by colonial settlers of the Native American herbal medicine. The author postulates the cross-cultural influence in herbal medicine. An explanation of natural illness, accult illness (hoodoo), and spiritual illness is followed by practical information on herbs, complete with drawings of each plant, common and Latin names, the portion of the plant used in folk remedies and the ailment for which each plant is used.
  • Morgan, Philip D. Slave Counterpoint: Black Culture in the Eighteenth-Century Chesapeake & Lowcountry. Chapel Hill, NC: Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia, by the University of North Carolina Press, University of North Carolina Press, 1998. ISBN: 0807824097. Just before the Revolution, three quarters of American slaves lived in the Chesapeake area (around Virginia) and the South Carolina Lowcountry. The between the two areas makes for an in-depth study of slave life in the colonial South. [SC COLLECTION 975.5]
  • Olwell, Robert. Masters, Slaves and Subjects: The Culture Power in the South Carolina Low Country, 1740-1790. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1998. ISBN: 0801434882. Five key decades saw the height of the old colonial system give way to the aftermath of the Revolution. Chapters deal with the slave system and its effects on the law, church, finances and politics of Charleston and surrounding Lowcountry. [SC COLLECTION 975.7]

  • Parrish, Lydia. Slave Songs of the Georgia Sea Islands. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1992. The work is divided into the following sections: "Afro-American Shout Songs," "Ring-Play, Dance and Fiddle Songs,
    "Religious Songs," and "Work Songs." Both words and music are included for many songs and many songs are annotated. The work also contains essays on preservation of this portion of the Gullah heritage. [BEAUFORT SC & ADULT COLLECTIONS, AND HHI ADULT COLLECTION 781.62 PAR] [fph 3/02]
  • Pinckney, Roger. Blue Roots: African-American Folk Magic of the Gullah People. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 1998. ISBN: 156718524X. On Beaufort County’s Sea Islands "the root" is a traditional, African-American brand of magic. Not to be confused with the voodoo of Haiti, "the root" is a home-grown part of Gullah heritage. The famous rivalry of root doctors Sheriff McTeer and Doctor Buzzard is here, not to mention Doctors Fly, Bug and Crow. Their spells and hexes -- and the haunts and hags (Lowcountry witches) -- make for a chilling, good read. [SC COLLECTION 398]
  • Polke, Gloria Haynes. De Gullah N De Geechee Seafood Cookbook. Kearney, NE: Morris Press, 1999. The author is a St. Helena Island native and trained food service worker who has collected Sea Island recipes for fish ("De Fried Shark Steak"), scallops ("De Skullup Ram-bu-ie"), lobster ("Gullah Style Okra N Lobster Stew"), shrimp ("De Shrimp Fried Rice"), blue crabs ("St. Helena Style Devil Crabs", oysters ("De Steam Oysters"), clams ("De Olde Fashun Pot op Klam Chodda") and "Ardda" ("other") dishes, like red rice, grits, squid, conch and Low Country Boil ("Frogmore Stew"). Brief sections introduce "Gullah Food" and "Historic Penn Cultural Center, The Sea Islands of the Low Country, The Geechee and Gullah Cultures". [COLLECTION OF HILLARY BARNWELL & SC COLLECTION 641.5] [10/99 gmc]

  • Pollitzer, William S. The Gullah People and Their African Heritage. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, c1999. This examination of Gullah history and culture contains a unique focus on "data on blood composition, bone structure, disease pathology and prevalence, and other biological factors [that] highlight their [Gullahs] ties to various African peoples...." The author is "a professor emeritus of anatomy and anthropology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill." [BEAUFORT SC COLLECTION, ADULT COLLECTION & HILTON HEAD 975 POL]
  • Powers, Bernard E., Jr. Black Charlestonians: A Social History, 1822-1885. Fayetteville, AR: University of Arkansas Press, 1994. ISBN: 1557283648. Before the Civil War, Charleston had a large free black population, and the social divisions among black Charlestonians became even more complex during Reconstruction. Affluent blacks often adopted the values of white culture, but African Americans of all stations faced a struggle for full citizenship. [SC COLLECTION 975.7]

  • Puckett, Clara Childs. Old Mitt Laughs Last. [S.l.]" Bobbs-Merrill, 1994. These fictional tales of sea island Gullah people are written predominantly in standard English. The attempts at the Gullah language are not always successful. [BEAUFORT SC COLLECTION FIC PUC] [fph 2/02]
  • Saville, Julie. The Work of Reconstruction: From Slave to Wage Laborer in SouthCarolina, 1860-1870. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1994. ISBN: 0521362210. South Carolina had the largest slave population in this hemisphere at the time of emancipation. Freed slaves "reclaimed their persons and their labor" in the vast social and political changes of Reconstruction. Saville also discusses the daily life of the ex-slaves and their relationship with the newly imposed Republican political order. [SC COLLECTION 331.6]

  • Seabrooke, Brenda. The Bridges of Summer. New York: Cobblehill Books, 1992. In this children's story, an African-American girl visits fictional Domengo Island, SC and learns about her Gullah relatives and her African heritage.

  • Siegelson, Kim L. The Terrible, Wonderful Tellin' at Hog Hammock. New York: HarperCollins, 1996. A young African-American boy living on a fictional sea island off the southern U.S. coast performs a story at a Gullah "tellin'" and carries on the traditions of his grandfather. An explanation of the Gullah language concludes the work. [BEAUFORT & HILTON HEAD ISLAND CHILDREN'S COLLECTIONS J FIC SEA] [fph 2/02]
  • Slaughter, Sabra Conway. "The Old Ones Die and the Young Ones Leaving": The Effects of Modernization on the Community of Daufuskie Island, South Carolina. (Doctoral Dissertation . Ann Arbor, MI: University Microfilms, 1985. Already more than a decade old, this study explores the history, development and modernization of the long "untouched" sea island. Researchers can compare these earlier observations with current trends, not only on Daufuskie but throughout Beaufort County. [SC COLLECTION 303.44]
  • Stewart, Julia. 1,001 African Names: First and Last Names from the AfricanContinent. Secaucus, NJ: Carol Pub. Group, 1996. ISBN: 0806517379. Names for every letter, divided by gender. For each name (for example, Kaikura) you will find the pronunciation (kigh-KOO-ruh), the tribal language (Mende of Sierra Leone), the meaning (a type of ground squirrel), as well as any know variants (KAIKULA). The introductory sections and appendices expand into the historical, cultural and social significance of names and naming in Africa. [REFERENCE 929.4]
  • Thomas-Watkins, June Esther. Strategies of Social Control in an Isolated Community: The Case of the Gullah of South Carolina’s St. Helena Island. (Doctoral Dissertation). Ann Arbor, MI: University Microfilms, 1993. Saint Helena Islanders have traditionally relied on a informal system to resolve grievances and crimes without the intervention of government justice agencies. Problems are settled within the church and community. The author examines this local "social control system" on several levels -- family, educational, economic, political and religious. [SC COLLECTION 975.799]
  • Tobin, Jacqueline and Raymond G. Dobard. Hidden in Plain View: The Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad. First edition. New York, NY: Doubleday, 1999. ISBN: 0385491379. The Underground Railroad Quilt Code was a secret "message map" for fugitive black slaves. It was a survival of West and Central African traditions of textiles and oral history, passed on from generation to generation. The authors present the words and patterns of the code that guided slaves in their escape in the full context of their history. [CIRCULATING 973.7]

  • Turner, Lorenzo Dow. Africanisms in the Gullah Dialect. New York: Arno Press, 1969. The results of a fifteen-year study of the Gullah language, this work contains a dictionary of spoken Gullah, Gullah texts, and a comparison of Gullah with several West African dialects. [BEAUFORT SC COLLECTION AND LOCAL HISTORY, HILTON HEAD ISLAND SC COLLECTION 427.975 TUR] [fph 2/02]
  • Weiner, Marli F. Mistresses and Slaves: Plantation Women in SouthCarolina, 1830-80. Urbana, IL : University of Illinois Press, 1998. ISBN: 0252023226. More than anything else, gender and race determined a person’s place in antebellum Southern society. Expectations of men, both free and slave, created many complex problems for women on the plantation. This book discusses the work lives and interactions of black and white women within this culture, as well as the effects of war and emancipation. [SC COLLECTION 305.48]
  • Windley, Lathan Algerna. A Profile of Runaway Slaves in Virginia and South Carolina from 1730 through 1787. New York, NY: Garland Publishing, 1995. ISBN: 0815310188. The introduction states that "the problem (of fugitive slaves) was a real one and one not to be taken lightly by planters and slaveowners and ... discuss(es) how they attempted to handle that problem from a legal standpoint. Further, this study attempts to give complete profile of runanway slaves -- within the limations of the data ... --- in two of the largest slaveholding colonies in the Eighteenth Century ... " Windley studied personal variables (sex, age, height, size, color, impairments, occupations, language, speech patterns, literacy, deportment and even hobbies) and other factors, such as birth place, how and when slaves ran away, where they ran from, destinations, and the disguises they used. [SC COLLECTION 973.2]
  • Wolfe, Michael Charles. The Abundant Life Prevails: Religious Traditions of SaintHelena Island. (Doctoral Dissertation). Ann Arbor, MI: University Microfilms, 1997. "In 1862," writes Wolfe, "two religious traditions collided on Saint Helena Island ..." One was the "imported" faith of the Northern missionaries at Penn School. "The other, older religious tradition was that of the newly freed island slaves, ... a mixture of Southern evangelicalism and African traditional religious practices." The dissertation explains how these two forces interacted and finally came together. [SC COLLECTION 200.9757]
  • Wright, Roberta Hughes. An Annotated Bibliography: Books of the South Carolina and Georgia Sea Islands. Penn Center of the Sea Islands Michigan Support Group. Southfield, MI: Charro Book Co., 1993. Dr. Hughes includes 55 titles about the people, history and culture of the Sea Islands, listing the tables of contents for all items and a summary of the books’ introductions, jacket notes, and prefaces. Each entry begins with complete bibliographic information (subtitle, author, publisher, number of pages, whether indexed, ISBN number and structure features like binding type, maps, illustrations, etc.). [SC COLLECTION 016.9757]

See also

  • Tibbetts, John H. "Living Soul of Gullah." Coastal Heritage (S. C. Sea Grant Consortium). Volume 14. Number 4. Spring 2002. Pages 2-12 (plus cover illustration). "Spawned by Africa and Europe, by slavery and isolation, the Gullah culture is fading into the modern world." Among illustrations are a map of the slave and rice/cotton/staples routes between West Africa, England and the Americas. [SC COLLECTION VERTICAL FILES]


  • Bennett, John. Gullah: A Negro Patois. Durham, NC: The South Atlantic Quarterly no date given. 16 pages. More an illustration than a descriptive treatment, this informal discussion offers numerous examples of Gullah expressions. Bennett’s negative approach is unfortunate (he suggests that Gullah may be considered "in critical terminology … a grotesque patois"). [SC COLLECTION 427.9757]
  • Penn Center. The Nomination of the "Emancipation Proclamation Site" to the National Register, 1993-1995. Michigan Support Group, no date given. 20 pages. On January 1, 1863, Brigadier General Rufus Saxton told the contraband slaves who had assembled at the John Joiner Smith Plantation that they were formally free. One hundred thirty years later, a re-enactment of that momentous event was staged on the site involving local and state government officials, the 1st South Carolina Volunteers Reenactment group, the Penn Center organization, and interested citizens. This brief but meaty booklet details the nomination of the site for the National Register of Historic Places, supplying copies of the original submission for inclusion and supporting documentation. (gmc) [SC COLLECTION 975.799]
  • Smith, Reed. Gullah. Reprint of Bulletin 190 0f the University of South Carolina (November 1, 1926). State Printing Company (Columbia, SC), 1967. 36 pages. The author outlines the history, structure and vocabulary, with sentence diagrams and lists of consonant changes and archaic elements. Examples of words in context (including proverbs) are plentiful, but readers must endure pejorative terms (like "darkey") that appear in the author’s text. [SC COLLECTION 427.9757]

  • Stoddard, A. H. [Albert Henry]. Gulla tales and anecdotes of South Carolina Sea Islands. Cover by Bill Haynes. [n.p.,] 1940. 22 pp.

    A descendant of the Daufuskie Island Mongin family, Stoddard, collected oral tales of the island's African-American residents throughout the late 1930s. He translated much of the Gullah languageinto a form of standardized English. (gmc) [SC COLLECTION 325.26]


  • Adams, Dennis (Information Services Coordinator, Beaufort County Public Library, SC). Gullah Dialect and Culture: Non-Book Materials in a Sea Island Community. 1990. Formats include phonograph recordings (LPs), audiocassette recordings (spoken word), filmstrip with sound, microfilms, clipping files, and pamphlets, realia and live theatrical presentations. Section One covers the Beaufort County Public Library Collection; Section Two describes materials at Penn Center; and Section Three lists some materials available elsewhere. Each entry gives bibliographical information, followed by content notes and critical comments. [SC COLLECTION VERTICAL FILE]

Note: This collection is no longer available.

  • Leland, "Cap’n’" John. Gullah Readings and Stories from Plantations Around Georgetown, Coastal South Carolina. Pawley’s Island, SC: Factor Records, 1964. Leland is a white, non-native informant whose rendition of Gullah is less authentic than that of the better known Dick Reeves, lacking the unique intonations and phonetic traits of the language Although the album jackets expresses Cap’n’ John’s hope that "the colored brethern will accept (his jokes) on the spirit (in which) they are offered," the stories are often demeaning rural jokes.
  • Reeves, Dick. Carolina Patois: Gullah in Story and Rhyme and Gullah: A Breath of the Carolina Lowcountry. Two separate, one-disk albums. Charleston, SC: Lenwal Enterprises, no date given (approximately 1960s). The sources of the material are the speaker’s reminiscences and such writers as Ambrose Elliott Gonzales. These records are typical in that Mr. Reeves is a white, non-native informant who claims to be a "student" and a "specialist" of Gullah. The anecdotes are often jokes at the expense of rural African-Americans – even with the use of the term, "darkey".
  • Stoddard, Albert H. Animal Tales Told in the Gullah Dialect. Folklore of the United States Series. Three volumes on three disks. Washington, DC: The Library of Congress Division of Music Recording Laboratory, no date given Serial Numbers: AAFS L44, AAFS L45, AAFS L46. These recordings present Gullah through the Buh ("Brer") Rabbit stories, told by a white Daufuskie Islander who spoke Gullah from childhood. The South Carolina State Museum has employed excerpts of this recording for its Gullah exhibit.

Note: This collection is no longer available at BCPL

  • Georgia Sea Island Songs. Extensive background notes enclosed. New York, NY: New World Records 1977. Serial Number: NW 278. The album includes ten songs (work songs, other secular songs and spirituals) from the musical heritage of black Sea Islanders. Local performers sing a variety of chants resembling African chants, as well as more modern selections.
  • John’s Island, South Carolina: Its People and Songs. Descriptive notes inside jacket. New York, NY: Folkway Records, 1973. Serial Number: FS 3840. Like Georgia Sea Island Songs, his collection of field recordings includes secular and religious songs of the Gullah culture. The sound quality, although adequate, is inferior to that of the other recording. None the less, the field-recording nature of the selection and the spontaneity of the performances give this recording more of an air of authenticity than the technically superior New World Records release.


  • The Christmas Story in Gullah: Jedus Bon (Jesus is Born). Transcription with standard English translation included. St. Helena Island, SC: Sea Island Translation and Literacy Project, 1987. The brief cassette (six minutes) is a trial edition of a Sea Island Version of the Gospel of Luke, part of the Sea Island Translation and Literacy Project’s ongoing Bible translation. The Christmas Story in Gullah treats only verses 1-20 of the second chapter of De Good News wa Luke Write (see De Good Nyews Bout Jedus Christ wa Luke Write in "Books", Section (A), above). A Gullah speaker recites a complete verse, followed by a recitation of the same passage in the King James Version. [SC COLLECTION & AUDIO COLLECTION]

  • Daise, Ronald. De Gullah Storybook: (fa laarn fa count from 1-10). Beaufort, SC: GOG Enterprises, 1986. The Gullah man illustrated counting as he pursues his daily routine. [BEAUFORT CHILDREN'S COLLECTION, HILTON HEAD ISLAND, BLUFFTON 398.2 DAI] [fph 3/02]

  • Daise, Ronald. Little Muddy Waters. [compact disc] Beaufort, SC: GOG Enterprises, 1998. This single compact disc contains a Gullah folktale for children that features the title song. A pamphlet with the words to the song accompanies the disc. The story can also be found in book format. [BEAUFORT SC COLLECTION 398.2 DAI] [fph 2/02]
  • Daise, Ron and Natalie. Sleep Tight: Night-night Songs & Stories. [audiocassette]. G.O.G. Enterprises, 1998. Ron Daise is St. Helena born and bred. He and his wife, Natalie, bring skills honed during the production of Gullah, Gullah, Island to this charming audiotape. Think of them as the African-American equivalent of Mr. Rogers and Lady Everlyn: soft-spoken, respectful, and warm-hearted. No wonder little kids adore them.[SC COLLECTION][10/99 gmc]

  • Daise, Ron and Natalie. We'll Stand the Storm and Other Spirituals. [audiocassette]. G.O.G. Enterprises, 1989. The tape contains the following spirituals: "Wade in the Wata," "Trouble Will be Ova," "We'll Stand the Storm," "Stay in the Field," "Mary Had a Baby," "I'm Gonna Sit at the Welcome Table," "Ring de Bell," "No More Auction Block," "O Freedom," "Somebody's Knocking at Your Door," "Certainly Lord," "Day is Done," and a reprise of "We'll Stand the Storm." [BEAUFORT SC COLLECTION AND HHI ADULT AUDIO CASSETTE COLLECTION 782.25 DAI] [fph 3/02]
  • Magee, Richard and Mary Magee. Ride With Me South Carolina: I-95 South. Bethesda, MD: RWM Associates, 1987. The package notes invite listeners "to hear the ancient language of the Sea Islands", among other highlights along the Interstate highway. The Gullah presentation is brief and includes four sentences from Albert H. Stoddard’s phonograph albums, Animal Tales Told in the Gullah Dialect (see "Phonograph Records – Spoken Word", Section (E), above). [SC COLLECTION]
  • Sea Island Sketches. CR-771216.01/01-C. National Public Radio, 1977. Content as yet unreviewed. No content description on cassette. [SC COLLECTION]

  • Smalls, Marlene. Heritage Not Hate: Discovering Gullah and Finding Myself. [audiocassette] This combination of narrated personal history and songs from Marlena Smalls and the Hallelujah Singers is chiefly concerned with African-American contributions to the creation of the United States. [BEAUFORT SC COLLECTION 975.7 SMA] [fph 2/02]


  • Goodwine, Marquetta L. and "Gullah Connection". Hunnuh Hafa Shout Sumtimes! Gullah Roots Productions, 1998. Musical selections include "I Will Sing Hallelujah", "Hunnuh Hafa Shout Sumtime!", "Eben de Horse Hab Fait’", "Welcome Home", "Movin’ On", "T’enk Ya", "The Arrival", "My Spirit Calls Out", "Planting Gullah Seeds" and "Sounds of Survival". [BEAUFORT SC COLLECTION AUDIOCASSETTE 975.799 GOO]

  • Daise, Ron and Natalie. Feel Like Journey On: Songs and Stories of Gullah Heritage for Children of All Ages. Beaufort, SC: G.O.G. Enterprises, 1993. The CD contains nine selections "fa de chirren" (for the children): "Feel Like Journey On" (Original and a reprise), "Miss Mary Mack" (Traditional and a Sea Island version), "Little Sista and the Wolf," "Hambone," "Little Muddy Waters," and "Keep Your Hand on the Plow." The eight selections "fa de nyoung at haat" (for the young at hart) are: "Feel Like Journey On," "Burning Down the House," "The Hag," "Children of God," "Keep on Steppin," "How I Got Ova," "De Exaddis," "Keep on Marchin," and "This Joy That I Have/This Little Light of Mine."
    [BEAUFORT SC COLLECTION CD 781.62 DAI] [fph 3/02]


  • Binyah's Surprise. New York: Sony Wonder, 1995. 29 minutes. This children's video is part of Nickelodeon's (Nick Jr.) Gullah Gullah Island series with Natalie and Ron Daise. The series was filmed on and around St. Helena Island, SC. [BEAUFORT & HILTON HEAD ISLAND CHILDREN'S COLLLECTIONS EB] [fph 2/02]

  • Dance Along with the Daise Family, Hollywood, CA: Paramount, 1997. 30 minutes. This children's video is part of Nickelodeon's (Nick Jr.) Gullah Gullah Island series with Natalie and Ron Daise. The series was filmed on and around St. Helena Island, SC. [Not available at BCPL] [fph 2/02]

  • Fort Mose: A New Chapter in American History. Asheville, NC: Ironwood Productions. 16 minutes. Intended for ages 9 through 14, this film recounts the history of the first legally-sanctioned free African settlement in America (near St. Augustine, Florida). It also traces the slave trade from Africa to the New World, and how the inhabitants of Fort Mose won their freedom. The reverse case panel lists ten learning objectives (for example, :Realize that African slaves resisted slavery – but not without consequences.") as a supplementary learning resource. [ST. HELENA BRANCH]

  • Gullah Gullah Island. Shows 119 and 120 from the popular Nick Jr. television series. [BEAUFORD CHILDREN'S COLLECTION 791.45 GUL] [fph 2/02]
  • High Sherriff, Lowcountry Witch Doctor (Beaufort, SC; Lowcountry Memory Series, WJWJ-TV, 1981). Cassette cover notes: "This program was produced in 1981, shortly afte the death of Sherriff McTeer who, as the youngest sherrif in Beaufort County’s history, went on to become a Lowcountry legend. This program is a recording of the memories of the High Sheriff’s friends and contemporaries, many of whom have since died. It is a connection to our past." (In his book, High Sheriff of the Lowcountry, James Edwin McTeer told of his encounters with Stepheney Robinson, "Doctor Buzzard", the most famous of Beaufort County’s "root doctors"). [SC COLLECTION]

  • Play Along with Binyah and Friends. New York: Sony Wonder, 1996. 30 minutes. A children's video featuring puppets along with Natalie and Ron Daise of the Gullah Gullah Island series. [BEAUFORT & HILTON HEAD CHILDREN'S COLLECTION--EP] [fph 2/02]

  • Sing Along with Binyah and Friends. New York: Sony Wonder, 1995. 30 minutes. A children's video featuring puppets along with Natalie and Ron Daise of the Gullah Gullah Island series. [ HILTON HEAD CHILDREN'S COLLECTION--ES] [fph 2/02]

  • Tales From the Land of Gullah. Charleston, SC: Matrix Media, Inc., 1999. 60 minutes. Fictional stories featuring Anita Singleton Prather as Aunt Pearlie Sue. [BEAUFORT SC COLLECTION and ADULT VIDEO COLLECTION, DALE CHILDREN'S VIDEO COLLECTION 398.2 TAL] [fph 2/02]

  • Tales From the Land of Gullah for Kids. Charleston, SC: Matrix Media, Inc., 1999. 40 minutes. Fictional stories featuring the return of narrator Anita Singleton Prather as Aunt Pearlie Sue. [BEAUFORT, BLUFFTON, & DALE CHILDREN'S COLLECTIONS, Videorecording 398.2 TAL] [fph 2/02]


  • Beaufort County, SC, Newspapers on Microfilm:

Beaufort Gazette (July 16, 1903 - Present)

Beaufort Republican (October 12, 1871 - October 16, 1873)

Beaufort Times (June 21, 1944 - December 20, 1945)

Bluffton Packet (January 1994 - December 1995)

County Democrat (July 20, 1910 - December 1, 1911)

Hilton Head News (January - December 1993; January - December 1996)

Hilton Head Report (January 1986 - March 1988)

Hilton Head Sun (February 1988 - May 1989)

Island Packet (January 1974 - Present)

Lowcountry Ledger (December 1988 - December 1991)

Palmetto Herald (March 17, 1864 - December 29, 1864)

Palmetto Post (January 5, 1882 - December 27, 1906)

Port Royal Commercial and Beaufort County Republican (October 23, 1873 - April 1874)

Sea Islander (September 13, 1968 - December 1974)

  • Microfilms of Beaufort newspapers include the entire contents of the issues, except for some advertising supplements. They provide firsthand reports of life in the Sea Island communities as long ago as one hundred and forty years. Until recent decades, however, those communities received only secondary attention from editors, in articles seldom free from the racial attitudes of the day. Only a partial index exists for the newspapers (for years 1881-1936), of which only five pages concern African-American residents. Racially segregated sections (such as "News of Our Colored Community") can simplify otherwise time-consuming searches, however. See index of local newspaper obituaries for entries for individual residents. [MICROFILM COLLECTION]
  • Slave Population and Census Records, 1850 and 1860. The slave population records of 1850 and 1860 provide anonymous rolls of slaves, classified by age, sex, color, whether fugitive from South Carolina, and whether disabled. Only the names of slave holders appear at the end of each grouping. [MICROFILM COLLECTION]


(See also: PART ONE:


  • Bailey, Cornelia (with Christina Beldsoe). God, Dr. Buzzard, and the Bolito Man .by Doubleday, 2000, ISBN 0-385-49376-2. A literary memoir. [Identified by Sheree Renée Thomas , author of Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora].

  • Deagan, Kathleen and Darcie MacMahon. Fort Mose: Colonial America’s Black Fortress of Freedom. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 1995. Fort Mose began in 1738, when over 100 African-born slaves escaped from South Carolina plantations for religious sanctuary in Spanish Florida. Text and illustrations recreate the daily life, militia service and Catholic faith of the black inhabitants of the the first legally-sanctioned free black town in what was to be the United States. Final sections describe the archaeological efforts that recovered Fort Mose more than 150 years after its abandonment [COLLECTION OF HILLARY BARNWELL]
  • Grant, John N. Black Nova Scotians. Halifax, NS: The Nova Scotia Museum, 1984, 1980. ISBN: 0919680208. Records confirm that there were slaves in Halifax and other towns as early as 1750, but some blacks in Nova Scotia were free servants. Later periods brought Black Loyalists, the Maroons and War of 1812 refugees to the province. The author relates the heritage, struggles and attitudes of black Nova Scotians throughout their history. A final section highlights prominent individuals with brief biographies and portraits. [COLLECTION OF HILLARY BARNWELL]
  • Joyner, Charles. Remember Me: Slave Life in Coastal Georgia. Georgia History and Culture Series. Atlanta, GA: Georgia Humanities Council, 1989. ISBN: 082031373. The author describes the culture that African-born slaves created on the coastal plantations of Georgia and South Carolina, as well as "life on the plantations, crops and their cultivation, and the relations of masters and slaves in these isolated communities". Chapters discuss religion ("despite an unusually strong Islamic presence, most coastal Georgia slaves embraced Christianity", p. 44) and storytelling ("Lots Ob Animal Stories"). [COLLECTION OF HILLARY BARNWELL]
  • Mitchell, Faith. Hoodoo Medicine: Gullah Herbal Remedies. Columbus, GA: Summerhouse Press, 1999. ISBN: 1887714332. The author, a medical anthropologist, lived with the Gullah people in the 1970s and learn a folk medicine tradition that has now all but vanished from the Sea Islands. Each entry gives the local popular name ("Jimsey" as opposed to "Jimson Weed" and Latin Datura stramonium) and a general description, followed by a number of kinds of uses (Afro-American, official, Native-American and Euro-American) for the plants. Line drawings illustrate most entries. [COLLECTION OF HILLARY BARNWELL]
  • "Gullah: People of the Sea Islands". Faces: People, Places and Cultures (Periodical), February 1998.. Peterborough, NH: Cobblestone Publishing Company. ISBN: 0382409078. Color and sepia-tone illustrations enhance this introduction to the "The Gullah: An Island People". Concise articles explain rice growing, sweet grass baskets, Gullah language and song, the artist Jonathan Green, the statesman Robert Smalls, and the Penn School for freed slaves. Activities include a "Rice Puddin’" recipe, how to make West African tie-and-dye gift paper, and a Gullah crossword (6 Across: "What are the Gullah people known as in Georgia?"). [COLLECTION OF HILLARY BARNWELL]


  • O’Neill, Helen (Associated Press Writer). "Carmelita’s Quest: Slavery’s Roots Pass Through Nova Scotia to South Carolina". Valley News (Newspaper: White River Junction, VT); March 7, 1999; p. A-4 (Photo with caption "Carmelita Robinson poses in front of the Mulberry Plantation is Cooper River, S. C., in July 1988. She is descended from slaves who worked there."). In the 1780s, thousands of slaves who fought with the British during the Revolution won passage to Nova Scotia. They built the largest free black settlement in North America, but met found bad soil, harsh climate and prejudice. After nine years, many relocated to Sierra Leone and few of black families remain today. A black Canadian woman explores her distant ties to the South Carolina Lowcountry. [COLLECTION OF HILLARY BARNWELL]


Items to be added as identified.


Items to be added as identified.


  • Annie Chaplin, Part I: Remedies and Religion (1974). Playing time: Approximately 45 minutes. This professionally-conducted interview offers Mrs. Chaplin’s impressions and recollections in her native Gullah language Mrs. Chaplin was an elderly woman who spoke a largely uncorrupted form of Gullah. Because the tape was produced under high technical standards, the fine points of pronunciation are well preserved. [PENN CENTER COLLECTION]


  • Spirituals (1942). ). Playing time: Approximately 45 minutes. Notes on the container describe the tape as "a group of native Negro folk-songs sung by descendents of the original Sea Island plantation slaves. Recorded at Penn School, St. Helena Island, S. C. made in 1942, along with the movie To Live as a Free Man. These recordings, originally on 78 R. P. M. records, were used as background for the film." Although the performances are authentic and of considerable historical value, the low 78-RPM fidelity and scratched disk surfaces result in poor sound quality. [PENN CENTER COLLECTION]


Items to be added as identified.


Items to be added as identified.


Items to be added as identified.


Items to be added as identified.


  • Mr. Ben Mack (August 1, 1972). Playing time: Approximately one hour. The tape is a professionally-conducted interview with Ben Mack, a native speaker of Gullah born in the 1880s. Included are Mr. Mack’s spontaneous recollections, impressions, and renditions of Sea Island songs. Because of the content and a form of Gullah largely uncorrupted by standard English, the interview has considerable historical value. [PENN CENTER COLLECTION]


(See also: PART ONE:

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