The University of Connecticut, in collaboration with The Penn Center, Georgia Historical Society and other sites in the Sea Islands, presented  two one-week NEH Landmarks of History and Culture Workshops in Savannah, GA on July 7th-12th and July 14th-19th 2013. We invited 80  K-12 teachers and librarians  to join us for this exciting educational and artistic opportunity.

The sessions examined the artistic expressions of the Gullah, direct descendants of slaves who worked the rice plantations on the coastal islands off the shores of South Carolina and Georgia. Their history, stories, beliefs, and creative expressions are critical antecedents to African-American culture and the broader American mosaic, as we know it today. The workshop format followed the African tradition, where the arts are studied as interrelated living experiences rather than as separate entities. Participants were guided through the process of thinking about and using the arts to teach the humanities. For example, how a specific song connects groups of people over time and demonstrates the viability of music as a tool for measuring continuity and change in cultural behavior. To more fully understand the Gullah culture from a holistic perspective, immersion experiences took place at The Penn Center in St. Helena Island, SC, Sapelo Island in McIntosh County, GA, and with the Georgia Sea Island Singers,  and the Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters. Additional research activities included primary and secondary sources, written and oral texts, scholarly and personal narratives, photographs, videos and recordings.

We welcome your interest in this program!

Project Co-Directors
Robert Stephens
Professor of Music

Mary Ellen Junda
Professor of Music

Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities
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