Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters Organized in 1992, the Shouters embrace and preserve the historical and cultural heritage of the Geechee legacy through song and dance. They have performed at numerous venues and festivals including the Smithsonian Anacostia Festival, Beaufort Gullah Festival and Sapelo Island Cultural Day Festival. The Shouters’ interactive performance is on Wednesday evening.
Melissa L. Cooper, Ph. D. Dr. Cooper is a writer, historian and professor. She is the author of the groundbreaking historical study, Making Gullah : A History of Sapelo Islanders, Race, and the American Imagination (University of North Carolina Press, 2017). She appears in the documentary, and Making Gullah has been featured at book festivals and events, in magazines, on radio shows, podcasts and blogs. Dr. Cooper is an assistant professor of history at Rutgers University-Newark.
Emory Shaw Campbell, Cultural historian, author of Gullah Cultural Legacies. The former Executive Director of Penn Center and past Chairman of the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission, Dr. Campbell has led efforts to create connections between the Gullah people and the people of Sierra Leone. He will share how his “sense of self” has changed over time.
Ron Daise, Cultural historian, educator, television actor in Gullah Gullah Island, author of Gullah Branches, West African Roots and chairman of the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor. Mr. Daise uses songs, poetry, prose, creative non-fiction, photographs, and his own unique voice to involve scholars in a vibrant journey to Gullah cultural and historical roots.
Leroy Campbell, Visual Artist. Mr. Campbell’s artwork is exhibited in galleries and institutions throughout the United States, as well as in Japan and Africa. He has evolved a unique artistic style, which features distinctive figures and references to cultural traditions and rituals from West Africa. Mr. Campbell will share his recent work including “The Newspaper Series.”
Wilson Moran, Cultural historians, descendants of Amelia Dawley, the women whose singing linked the Gullah tradition to Sierra Leone, and subjects in the film The Language You Cry In. He will share stories about their family history, “Amelia’s Song” and their journey to discover their ancestral roots in Sierra Leone.
Karen Wortham, Tour Guide, First African Baptist Church, the oldest Black Church in North America, and African American Tour of Savannah. Ms. Wortham has delighted and inspired visitors with her knowledge and unique gift of telling the story of this country’s “peculiar institution,” slavery.
Robert Stephens, Project Director, Professor of Music at the University of Connecticut and Savannah native. Publications include: “Beating For Sàngó: The African Origins of the Bàtá,” The International Journal for Africana Studies, “Etta James: A Biography,” in Black Women in America, 2nd ed. He will present a session on culture and Gullah music traditions and mentor teacher projects.
Marisely Gonzalez, Project Coordinator. Ms. Gonzalez was awarded a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from the University of Connecticut and currently is a graduate student in Human Resource Management. This is her second year coordinating Gullah Voices, and she provides support to applicants and to the Summer Scholars in the program.