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Gullah Research - Summer, 2002 Week 4

Dr. Charles W. Jarrett invited Marquetta L. Goodwine (Queen Quet) to meet with students from the University of South Carolina Beaufort at Hilton Head each week during the month of June, 2002. Dr. Jarrett's students engaged in an interactive study of Gullah culture and language as partial fulfillment of course requirements in his Sociology 355 class, a course entitled, "Race and Ethnic Relations." Queen Quet joined Dr. Jarrett on campus providing lectures and informative dialogue, scheduled a series of off-campus tours of traditional Gullah sites, and invited students to attend several socio-historical presentations at the Coastal Discovery Museum on Hilton Head Island.

Dr. Jarrett's class was offered many opportunities for dialogue and questions about Gullah culture and language. Question and answer exchanges were informative, fun, and challenging for students interested in establishing their own unique topics of field research. Students were provided an opportunity to pick and choose various topics of study with one requirement, students were required to interact with members of the Gullah community living in the neighboring Sea Islands of South Carolina.
The students exhibited energy and enthusiasm for the class project. An interactive study of this nature meant extra time in the field and plenty of work on weekends. Students attended 'special lectures' off campus, community festivals, and the series of Gullah tours scheduled by Queen Quet.

Dr. Jarrett instructed the students in the use of "Folknography," a new and innovative methodology designed for gaining a better 'empathetic understanding' of the community under investigation (see finished product). Dr. Jarrett provided students an opportunity to learn qualitative research methods during a practical and informative field exercise in the Sea Islands of South Carolina.

Dr. Jarrett's students have completed written reactions as partial fulfillment of course requirements and have given their permission to place comments on display with this official web site. USCB-HH student pictures and comments are provided below:

Read the Article "Hilton Head Students Impress Visiting Professor" by Bob Hohman. Bob Hohman's article was published in the August Edition of "Hilton Head Monthly".

L to R: Susie Neckles, Stephanie Denny, Angel Flewelling, Hagan Richmond, Charmaine Seabrook, and Amanda Cormier

L to R: Katie Ernst, Lindsey Easterling, and Leiah Castillo


Amanda Cormier

" I was born and raised in northern Beaufort County and our public schools are around 60% Black, so the Gullah influence remains strong. Since I was a young child, the Gullah language was frowned upon. Children and adults alike were encouraged to speak proper English as the only way to advance in life. Gullah was a language they were not supposed to speak because it was considered backwards."

" In this course, I have learned that Gullah is an African based language and culture of great integrity. I did not realize the African influences on Gullah language and culture until I watched the video "Family Across the Sea" at the Penn Center as part of my research project. It was interesting to learn Gullah language is an oral tradition, a way of passing along history and culture to younger generations. Gullah language must be preserved so the past cultural heritage of Gullah/Geechee people will be preserved."

Susie Neckles

" I give special thanks to Mrs. Julia Grant Thomas, Mrs. Phoebe Wiley Driessen, Mrs. Johnnie Patterson Mitchell, and the Fev. Issac W. Wilborn for taking the time to talk with me during my 'interactive study' of Gullah culture. As a student of psychology, I wish to spend my remaining days assisting the youth of this community cope with the many changes occurring in the Sea Islands. There have been many changes over the years, but there are many in the Gullah community who hold the values and ideals of their ancestors. The greatest value is their great and abiding love for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The Gullahs are very spiritual people and their continuous faith, love, and hope speaks for itself."

Leiah Castillo

"The Gullah way of life is exemplified through their art. Gullahs do not create art - for arts sake. Rather, they blend the skill, craftsmanship, and traditional methodologies preserved from past generations of artists. The famous 'sweetgrass baskets' vary in style because individual basket makers have their unique hand sewing methods passed down from generation to generation. Basket making has a spiritual sense to it, like most of the elements of Gullah culture. The sewing method is the same method used by their African ancestors, only the tools of the craft have changed with time. I was intrigued to learn only a few of the basket makers gather their own supplies, as most are now supplied with the natural materials through harvested crops."

Stephanie Denney

"I had the pleasure to interview Marquetta L. Goodwine, Queen Quet, in my quest to learn more about the Gullah/Geechee spiritual and religious foundations. I had noticed Queen Quet begins her presentations with song and spiritual reflections. Queen Quet informed me that most of her songs have a spiritual meaning, and the way in which the songs are sung has meaning as well. Queen Quet informed me that many of her songs were sung by her ancestors, and they were often used to convey messages in code. Queen Quet stressed the fact that Gullah people place great emphasis on how they carry themselves daily - your will, your way, and the balance of your environment are all very important to Gullah/Geechee people."

Charmaine Seabrook

"I am extremely interested in Gullah cuisine. Traditional Gullah diets relied on fish, rice, and vegetables grown from Gullah gardens. Fruits often consumed were apples, cantaloupe, watermelon, pears, blackberries, peaches, and plums. Gullah cuisine includes some unique food sources - like turtle eggs - considered a delicacy very rich in protein. Perhaps, a sign of the times, it is now illegal to consume turtle eggs."