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Georgia's Gullah-Geechee Heritage: Introduction

The Gullah-Geechee are descendants of enslaved West African people who worked on coastal plantations from North Carolina to northern Florida.

Logo for Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor

What is Gullah-Geechee?

The Gullah-Geechee are the descendants of African people who were enslaved on coastal plantations stretching from Wilmington, North Carolina, to St. Augustine, Florida. Newly freed black people who settled in the region after Emancipation are also Gullah-Geechee.

In the Carolinas, these people and their culture are known as Gullah. In Georgia and Florida, they are called usually referred to as Geechee.

Gullah-Geechee people have retained many African customs, including religious beliefs and traditions, music, foodways, and words and phrases from African languages. 

The Gullah-Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor was established by the U.S. Congress in 2006. It includes 79 barrier islands, and communities as far as 30 miles inland on the mainland. The Corridor is managed by the National Park Service.

In Georgia, the Gullah-Geechee culture spans from the Savannah area down to St. Marys and surrounding communities. It includes difficult-to-access islands such as Sapelo and Cumberland, and many popular tourist and resort areas such as St. Simons and Jekyll islands.

Throw Me Anywhere, Lord performed by the Georgia Sea Island Singers on YouTube. The dance is called The Buzzard Lope.

Gullah Culture by PBS Now on YouTube

Georgia's Gullah-Geechee People & Places

In Georgia, the Gullah-Geechee culture can be found along the state's coast, starting in the north in Chatham, Bryan, Liberty, McIntosh, Glynn, and Camden counties.

Chatham County

Bryan County

Liberty County

McIntosh County 

Glynn County

Camden County


Michele Nicole Johnson's picture
Michele Nicole Johnson
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College of Coastal Georgia