The Jacksonville Gullah/Geechie Nation Community Development Corp (JGGNCDC) held their 6th Annual October Gullah Fest last weekend at Charles ‘Bobbie’ Clark Park.
In spite of inclement weather, the crowd showed much enthusiasm with the purpose of providing attendees the feeling they were in the right location at the right time to ‘tell we story’.
Despite centuries of inhumanity and land loss, descendants of Gullah/Geechee people have retained many aspects of their unique heritage, language, and way-of-life. Gullah/Geechee people are known as the Ancient Ones, a nation within a nation, with direct linkage to African-American ancestral legacy and living custodians of Gullah/Geechee culture and protectors of human rights.
In coastal South Carolina, there are the Gullah people, and in coastal Georgia and Florida, the Geechee. (The two terms are often used interchangeably.) The Gullah are assumed to be descendents from the Gola people of Angola, and the Geechies from the Gidzi people of Sierra Leone. The Gullah/Geechee Nation territory is the only national African-American heritage corridor in the United States.
The annual festival included African cuisine, musical and art performances, merchandise/craft vendors, and educational resources. The also featured a forum entitled, “How can Africa be used as a resource to speak to contemporary challenges in the African Diaspora?”
Participants on the panel engaged the audience in dialogue concerning entertainment, politics, health disparities and the circumstances surrounding the upcoming presidential election. Participants were dressed in African garb and enjoyed the camaraderie of learning more about the Gullah/Geechee experience.
The vision of the JGGNCDC is to preserve, protect, and promote Gullah/Geechee history, heritage, language, and legacy by highlighting the many contributions of Gullah/Geechee people; and to serve as custodians of Gullah/Geechee culture and protectors of our human rights. The JGGNCDC invites the community to volunteer or become a member. For more visit www.jaxgullahgeecheecdc.org. Shown are panel members Baruti Katembo, Phd, Anthony Dixon, Remy Johnson, and Queen Nana Sia.