Gullah Culture Research Paper

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When African slaves were brought to America, certain diseases came along with them, such as yellow fever and malaria. These diseases were new to America and it led the Gullah people to be isolated, essentially from the rest of society. The low country of South Carolina and Georgia has a subtropical weather climate. Now while this was excellent for cultivating rice plantations, it was also a great conductor for spreading disease. Flooded rice plantations and swampy marshes of the coastland even became a hotbed for malaria and yellow fever to thrive and multiply. White slave masters and their families would eventually move away from their plantations because they were extremely prone and vulnerable to these viruses. So much so that these rural,…show more content…
At the same time however, there was an influence of Christianity mixed in there, gained from their white slave masters. When it came to religious worship, the Gullah would often participate in rituals in the ‘praise house’. A well-known Gullah praise dance was the ‘ring shout’. The ring shout consisted of the community gathering around in a circle and rhythmically moving in a counterclockwise direction, all while pounding sticks and chanting and shouting in praise of thanks. Think of how African-Americans today catch the ‘Holy Ghost’ in church. The ‘ring shout’ would be carried out in a similar manner. The tradition has pretty much died out in the Gullah Islands but the McIntosh County Shouters in Georgia does its best to keep the practice…show more content…
There would be a procession throughout the town for the newly deceased. However, any mirror surrounding the dead body would have to face the opposite direction, in fear that anyone in that household would be the next to die as well. The procession would end up at the cemetery, where they initially have to wait at the gates until their deceased ancestors would give them the blessing to enter. They would then sing and dance around the grave, as they lowered the body down into it. Afterwards, they would ‘break the chain’ by breaking bottles and smashing dishes in the cemetery so that no other family member would die relatively soon. The processional would finally head back to their home and enjoy a large meal, and leave a plate out front for the newly deceased member. Gullah burial customs, therefore, are not necessarily gloomy or melancholy occasions, but rather celebratory events of the person’s soul’s journey to the afterlife. Today, African-Americans often do the same, having a large feast after a funeral to reminisce and celebrate the life of their loved

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