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Gullah Lives Essay

2371 words - 9 pages

Gullah is said to be a dying Culture. Though this culture has brought life into so many other cultures and still thrives in lands today, its dying culture? Culture may lie within the land it came from, but it thrives through its connections. With influences all over the globe it might not be the most prominent culture, but it surly cannot be dying yet.
Gullah was created by cultural mixtures brought upon by the African Slave Trade. Between 1650 and 1860 there were around ten to fifteen million enslaved people transported from Africa to the Americas (Murphy). This human cargo was transported across the Atlantic Ocean and sold to New World slave owners, who bought slaves to work their crops. They brought rum, cloth, iron, firearms, gunpowder, and other goods of that nature which they were able to trade for human beings in return (Murphy). The slaves were treated like cattle. They were packed close and tight into ships with unbearable heat and nearly unbreathable air for months at a time. They were chained in pairs, shackled wrist to wrist or ankle to ankle. People were crowded together, usually forced to lie on their backs with their heads between the legs of others. Under these circumstances they often had to lie in each other's feces, urine, and with many women aboard, even blood. In such cramped quarters, diseases such as smallpox and yellow fever spread like wildfire. The diseased were sometimes thrown overboard to prevent wholesale epidemics (Murphy). Because a small crew had to control so many, cruel measures were taken. They would use tools such as iron muzzles and whippings to control the slaves. As terrible, dreadful, and horrifying as it was, this began the creation of the lively growing culture we know today as Gullah.
Slaves were traded throughout the West Indies, Central America, and South America. Through lands such as Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Barbados, Cuba, Haiti, Great Britain, Northern Ireland, The Dominican Republic, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Bermuda, Jamaica, the Netherlands, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Panama, Peru, and through smaller trade routes within these places. This trade created a mix between the cultures, bringing about new styles in language, arts, dance, and traditions. The Gullah culture is recognized mainly through the people who landed here in America along the Southern Coast in Low country South Carolina and Georgia, though the Gullah connection flows through each land it derived from.
Daid Aaron I and Daid Aaron II are two short stories of Gullah folktales transcribed by John These (Bennet). Daid Aaron I is a story told by a house slave with a master who is said to be dead in the burial ground. But every night he comes back into the house to sit on his chair, suck on his pipe, and warm his feet by the fire. Someone always has to come and take him back to the burial ground and persuade him that he is dead and that he needs to stay put in the ground. They eventually have to call a “conjah-doctoh” a voodoo man...

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