Books Related to the Gullah Culture

A sampling of resources about Gullah history and culture. Is something missing? Let us know! We’ll add it to the list.

History Books

Conroy, Pat (1972) “The Water is Wide”
A memoir by the celebrated Southern writer about his year teaching at an island middle school. It recounts his efforts to connect with the local community, and the impact they made on each other. The movie “Conrack” is inspired by the book.

Rose, Dr. Willie Lee (1962) “Rehearsal for Reconstruction: The Port Royal Experiment”
The prize-winning book by a Southern historian about post-Civil War era on St. Helena and the surrounding islands. It documents how enslaved people in this area received their freedom before emancipation, and it details the failed efforts to create a self-sustaining Black society that would be a model of Reconstruction for the rest of the country.

Priscilla’s Homecoming (2005) book, website tv production about 250-year documented lineage of slave girl “Priscilla”

Ball, Edward (1998) “Slaves in the Family,” New York: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux.

Carney, Judith (2001) “Black Rice: The African Origins of Rice Cultivation in the Americas,” Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Fields-Black, Edda (2008) “Deep Roots: Rice Farmers in West Africa and the African Diaspora,” Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Littlefield, Daniel (1981) Rice and Slaves: Ethnicity and the Slave Trade in Colonial South Carolina,” Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.

Miller, Edward (1995) “Gullah Statesman: Robert Smalls from Slavery to Congress, 1839-1915,” Columbia: University of South Carolina Press.

Pollitzer, William (1999) “The Gullah People and their African Heritage,” Athens: University of Georgia Press.

Smith, Julia Floyd (1985) “Slavery and Rice Culture in Low Country Georgia: 1750-1860,” Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press.

Smith, Mark M. (2005) “Stono: Documenting and Interpreting a Southern Slave Revolt,” Columbia: University of South Carolina Press.

Wood, Peter (1974) “Black Majority: Negroes in Colonial South Carolina from 1670 through the Stono Rebellion,” New York: Knopf.
Hester, James Robert (2015) “A Yankee Scholar in Coastal South Carolina: William Francis Allen’s Civil War Journals”

Kevin Dougherty (2014) “The Port Royal Experiment: A Case Study in Development”

Gullah language and storytelling

Bailey, Cornelia & Christena Bledsoe (2000) “God, Dr. Buzzard, and the Bolito Man: A Saltwater Geechee Talks about Life on Sapelo Island,” New York: Doubleday.

Geraty, Virginia Mixon (1997) “Gulluh fuh Oonuh: A Guide to the Gullah Language,” Orangeburg, SC: Sandlapper Publishing Company.

Jones, Charles Colcock (2000) “Gullah Folktales from the Georgia Coast,” Athens: University of Georgia Press.

Jones-Jackson, Patricia (1987) “When Roots Die: Endangered Traditions on the Sea Islands,” Athens: University of Georgia Press.

Mills, Peterkin and McCollough (2008) “Coming Through: Voices of a South Carolina Gullah Community from WPA Oral Histories collected by Genevieve W. Chandler,” The University of South Carolina Press.

Montgomery, Michael (ed.) (1994) “The Crucible of Carolina: Essays in the Development of Gullah Language and Culture,” Athens: University of Georgia Press.

Sea Island Translation Team (2005) “De Nyew Testament (The New Testament in Gullah),” New York: American Bible Society.

Stoddard, Albert Henry (1995) “Gullah Animal Tales from Daufuskie Island, South Carolina,” Hilton Head Island, SC: Push Button Publishing Company.

Turner, Lorenzo Dow (2002) “Africanisms in the Gullah Dialect,” Columbia: University of South Carolina Press.

Gullah culture

Campbell, Emory (2008) “Gullah Cultural Legacies,” Hilton Head South Carolina: Gullah Heritage Counsulting Services.

Carawan, Guy and Candie (1989) “Ain’t You Got a Right to the Tree of Life: The People of Johns Island, South Carolina, their Faces, their Words, and their Songs,” Athens: University of Georgia Press.

Creel, Margaret Washington (1988) “A Peculiar People: Slave Religion and Community Culture among the Gullahs,” New York: New York University Press.

Cross, Wilbur (2008) “Gullah Culture in America,” Westport, Connecticut: Praeger.

Joyner, Charles (1984) “Down by the Riverside: A South Carolina Slave Community,” Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

Kiser, Clyde Vernon (1969) “Sea Island to City: A Study of St. Helena Islanders in Harlem and Other Urban Centers,” New York: Atheneum.

McFeely, William (1994) “Sapelo’s People: A Long Walk into Freedom,” New York: W.W. Norton.

Parrish, Lydia (1992) “Slave Songs of the Georgia Sea Islands,” Athens: University of Georgia Press.

Robinson, Sallie Ann (2003) “Gullah Home Cooking the Daufuskie Way” and (2006) “Cooking the Gullah Way Morning, Noon, and Night.”

Charlotte: University of North Carolina Press.

Rosenbaum, Art (1998) “Shout Because You’re Free: The African American Ring Shout Tradition in Coastal Georgia,” Athens: University of Georgia Press.

Rosengarten, Dale (1986) “Sea Grass Baskets of the South Carolina Lowcountry,” Columbia, South Carolina: McKissick Museum, University of South Carolina.

Twining, Mary & Keigh Baird (1991) “Sea Island Roots: The African Presence in the Carolinas and Georgia,” Trenton, New Jersey: Africa World Press.

Young, Jason (2007) “Rituals of Resistance: African Atlantic Religion in Kongo and the Lowcountry South in the Era of Slavery,” Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University.

Historical photos of the Gullah

Georgia Writer’s Project (1986) “Drums and Shadows: Survival Studies among the Georgia Coastal Negroes,” Athens: University of Georgia Press.

Johnson, Thomas L. & Nina J. Root (2002) “Camera Man’s Journey: Julian Dimock’s South,” Athens: University of Georgia Press.

Minor, Leigh Richmond & Edith Dabbs (2003) “Face of an Island: Leigh Richmond Miner’s Photographs of Saint Helena Island,” Charleston, South Carolina: Wyrick & Company.

Ulmann, Doris & Suzanna Krout Millerton, New York: Aperture, Inc.

Children’s books on the Gullah

Branch, Muriel (1995) “The Water Brought Us: The Story of the Gullah-Speaking People,” New York: Cobblehill Books.

Clary, Margie Willis (1995) “A Sweet, Sweet Basket,” Orangeburg, South Carolina: Sandlapper Publishing Company.

Geraty, Virginia (1998) “Gullah Night Before Christmas,” Gretna, Louisiana: Pelican Publishing Company.

Graham, Lorenz (2000) “How God Fix Jonah,” Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mill Press.

Jaquith, Priscilla (1995) “Bo Rabbit Smart for True: Tall Tales from the Gullah,” New York: Philomel Books.

Krull, Kathleen (1995) “Bridges to Change: How Kids Live on a South Carolina Sea Island,” New York: Lodestar Books.

Seabrooke, Brenda (1994) “The Bridges of Summer,” New York: Puffin Books.

Raven, Margot Theis (2004) “Circle Unbroken,” New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Siegelson, Kim L. (1999) “In The Time of The Drums,” New York: Jump At The Sun/ Hyperion Books for Children.

Siegelson, Kim L. (2003) “Dancing The Ring Shout,” New York: Jump At The Sun/ Hyperion Books for Children.

Works of fiction set in the Gullah region

“Daughters of the Dust” movie 1991, Written, produced and directed by Dash, Julie
First theatrically-released film that was directed by an African-American woman. It traces three generations of a family that is moving away from St. Helena Island to pursue better opportunities.

Porgy (1925) novel by Dubose Heyward about a disenfranchised community in Charleston.

Porgy and Bess,” (1935) opera based on Dubose Heyward’s novel written a decade earlier. Heyward wrote the libretto, and George Gershwin composed the music.

Hurston, Zora Neale (1937) “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” New York: Harper Perennial.[16]

Kidd, Sue Monk (2005) “The Mermaid Chair,” Viking Press.

Naylor, Gloria (1988) “Mama Day,” New York: Ticknor & Fields.

Satterthwait, Elisabeth Carpenter (1898). A Son of the Carolinas, A story of the Hurricane upon The Sea Islands. Philadelphia, Pa.: Henry Altemus. 273 pp. ISBN 0-8369-9062-5 (ISBN 0-8369- 9062-5).

Siddons, Anne Rivers (1998) “Low Country,” New York: Harper Collins Publishers.

Siegelson, Kim (1996) “The Terrible, Wonderful Tellin’ at Hog Hammock,” New York: HarperCollins Publishers.

Straight, Susan (1993) “I Been in Sorrow’s Kitchen and Licked Out All the Pots,” New York: Hyperion.

Peterkin, Julia (1928) Scarlet Sister Mary – fiction book won Pulitzer Prize in 1928

Baynard Woods (2010) “Coffin Point: The Strange Cases of Ed Mcteer, Witchdoctor Sheriff”

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