October Gullah Fest was held in front of the shops on Pearl Street and 8th street for a day to celebrate Gullah heritage. Vendors and shop owners showcased their cultural wares while listening to speakers and descendants of the Gullah Geechee nation.
The majority of the Gullah Geechee nation hails from just up the street in the coastal states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. The festival’s mission is to preserve, share and interpret the history, traditional cultural practices, heritage sites, and natural resources associated with the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor. Gullah Geechee people are descendants of Africans who were enslaved on cotton plantations of the lower Atlantic coast. Culturally celebrated is the music, food, spiritual expression and dialect.
Held in the streets of Springfield, the flavorful festival brought alive the renaissance of the culture as shared by the community history keepers.
“After ratification of the 13th Amendment banning slavery in 1865, African and American-born slaves lived along the southeastern coast, we had a rich history; we owned our land and raised our families,” said author and historian Marsha Dean-Phelts.
Shown with entrepreneur Brandon Byers, Cook Book Restaurant owner and community trustee Nashon Nicks is author and historian and community griot Marsha Phelts sharing her wisdon at the festival.