Self Discovery: The Gullah

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The Gullah is a community that lives in the coastal parts of South Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia where they fish and farm. The ancestors of the Gullah trace back to Charleston, South Carolina, where there was a port for the Atlantic Slave trade, which was the most commonly used port in North America. Gullah is “more than simply the language and name of a people. It encompasses the essence of struggle, spirituality, perseverance and tradition” (South Carolina Business and Industry). Their relatives are West Africans who suffered many hardships and are honored and remembered by a rare preservation of African culture that the Gullah keeps alive. The Gullah truly live by the meaningful words that “If you don’t know where you’re going, you should know where you came from” (U.S. Department of State). They use African names, carry on African folktales, and create African craftwork. The Gullah have been able to maintain their African heritage because they are secluded from other influences because of the isolation of the Sea Islands. Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon accurately portrays the Gullah as a productive community where Pilate affiliates herself and discovers her true individuality. Pilate’s life journey is a collection of places she has been as a result of her love for geography and her habit of collecting rocks from her various visits. She grows curious of a group of people that live off the coast of Virginia while she is on the mainland. Pilate becomes independent and self-sufficient because at one point she lives and works on the coastal islands off of Virginia with the Gullah people. She recognizes how the island people “[do] not mix much with other Negroes, but [are] respected by them” (Morrison 146). Pilate enjoys that... ... middle of paper ... ...late did. Pilate was non-violent and chose the Gullah to guide her to independence and happiness. Guitar will not feel accomplished or have any self-respect in the Seven Days. He must find a positive community where he feels welcome and can honor his diseased father without having to get revenge on anybody. Works Cited 1. Morrison, Toni. Song of Solomon. New York: Vintage Books, 1977. Print. 2. South Carolina Business and Industry. "Gullah in South Carolina." Gullah SC. Member of the Better Business Bureau of South Carolina, n.d. Web. 9 Apr. 2010. . 3. U.S. Department of State. "Once in Danger of Disappearing, U.S. Gullah Culture Now Thrives." N.p., 18 Feb. 2010. Web. 26 May 2010. 20100217163730GLnesnoM0.1222498.html>.

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