Are you one of those who love to visit the quirky, maverick places with a strange old history associated with it? Then Hilton Head is definitely one of the places for you to visit.
The lesser known Gullah heritage consists of the part of the South Carolina and Georgia Lowcountry where the descendants of slaves were transported from West Africa to the “Rice Coast”.
After the Emanciapation Proclamation was declared, many of the slaves at that time fled to Hilton Head Island and its Union Army outpost. But, some decided to stay back. Throughout the years, these folks protected their heritage of language, food, festivals and other customs. Today, it is of course one of the finest places for spending a vacation and there are plenty of things to do in Hilton head.
Recognizing this unique culture of the Gullah Geechee people who lives in the sea islands and coastal areas of North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, and Georgia, the U.S. Congress madea special place called the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor. Throughout the corridor, one can see the culture thriving.
One of the most prominent things to do in Hilton Head is to attend the Island tours where you can see how the community has preserved the root of their African cultural and linguistic heritage than any other community of African-American in the US.
The places of attraction include but not limited to:
• Gullah Neighborhoods
Being uniquely autonomous, Gullah neighborhood is made of clustered extended families which includes personalities like their spiritual leaders. They have the Praise House, essential craftsmen, food processing mills and a regular conveyance to the waterway. Hilton Head Island is the real time portrayal of how the people lived in the late 1860s. Stoney, Jonesville, Chaplin, Simmons Fishing Camp, First African Baptist Church, Union Cemetery, Gardner Marshland, Spanish Wells, Squire Pope and Queen Chapel AME Church are some of the things to see in Hilton Head Island.
• Juke joints
The late 1940’s had many Gullah neighborhoods form the popular, rustic dance halls with music, authentic food and drinks and they called them juke joints. The concept became more admired as well as popular with the culmination of the mainland and urban entertainment technology in this sea island. Today, there are some world class resorts which caters to the international tourists.
Soon after the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, the people of Mitchelville gave birth to a new, self-governed culture that till date serves the guidepost for the new generations. Situated on Hilton Head Island, SC, Mitchelville, it represents one of the finest of the Gullah Cultural Heritage Corridor. The local guides are more than interested to help the tourists get more information about Mitchelville Preservation Project.
• Coastal Discovery Museum
One of the most memorable destinations on your list of things to do in Hilton Head Island should include a visit to this museum which preserves the natural history and cultural heritage. Standing on a 68 acre Honey Horn property, it is open on all days for the tourists.
• Gullah Museum of Hilton Head Island
This is a non-profit organization that is responsible for preserving the traditions, history, culture, language, customs, structures of the Island. They have more plans to expand which will have an art gallery, a garden, a Praise House and a large meeting room.
One of the oldest in the U.S., visiting the Gullah Heritage would not only enrich your history but also help you understand the cultures and traditions of a part of the human civilization which is much less talked about.