Inspired by the dream of a Gullah storyteller, we look forward with great excitement to the design and construction of a 14,000 square foot Gullah Cultural Center that will provide a beautiful place to celebrate and preserve the unique African influences in the arts, food, and language of the South Carolina Lowcountry.
The Birth of the Gullah Cultural Center
Carolyn “Jabulile” White, a longtime member of St. James Presbyterian Church (USA), approached us with a plan to convert property owned by her family into a unique café where Gullah storytellers could perform. Her parcel of land near the church in James Island was perfect because of the Island’s significance to Gullah heritage. People of African descent on James Island have retained more of their linguistic and cultural heritage than those in any other black community in the U.S.
As Mrs. White shared with us her vision for the café, it became clear that the tiny building on her property may be inadequate to support it. We all dreamed of a larger center that would offer the community Gullah-related crafts, fine arts, music, and culinary arts; a state-of-the-art theater for productions and presentations; an event and conference center that members of the community could use; and a gift shop and bookstore.
The Future of the Gullah Cultural Center
The Gullah Cultural Center will be situated on a nine-acre lot along Grimball Road. The parcel of land will feature landscaping that captures the essence of Gullah culture, including an interpretive walking trail encircling the site.
Groundbreaking on the Center’s phased construction is slated for late December 2014.