Maintaining Cultural Identity in the Face of Adversity Essay

Maintaining Cultural Identity in the Face of Adversity Essay

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Maintaining Cultural Identity in the Face of Adversity

"At the turn of the century, Sea Island Gullahs, descendants of African Captives, remained isolated from the mainland of South Carolina and Georgia.
As a result of their isolation, the Gullah created and maintained a distinct, imaginative, and original African American Culture.
Gullah communities recalled, remembered, and recollected much of what their ancestors brought with them from Africa…"
- Prologue to Julie Dash’s "Daughters of the Dust"

The people who settled in the United States from all over the world built the rich history of the country. Indeed, the U.S. is a country that has been built on immigration. The first non-indigenous arrivers were European and with them they brought to the United States all of the western ideologies of their homeland. This is true of all of the groups that immigrated here over the course of the next several hundred years. However, the initial settling of the Europeans in America created a standard by which other immigrants would have to compete against. Once a particular group saturates an area, it is difficult for diversified outgroups to bring their own culture and belief systems into a society that has already established itself. This rift in cultures is evident at the turn of the 20th century. There are communities of like-minded people carefully segregated in New York City, for example. The Italians, the Irish, and the Jews and the Blacks all had their own niche carved for themselves in the big city. These pockets of ethnic groups are created for several reasons. First, people are most comfortable with what they already know. Imagine coming to a new country for the first time. If you can go to an area where you know they will...

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...o that fact. The only way balance can be achieved, though, is if the past is not forgotten. African Americans must "recall, remember, and recollect much of what their ancestors brought with them from Africa… ."


Online; Internet. available at

Pabis, Dr. George S. "Sub-Saharan Africa Under Foreign Rule." Online; Internet. available at

University of Georgia Press. "The Gullah People and Their African Heritage." Online; Internet. available at

Members of Honors Religious Traditions of the African Diaspora 1997. "The Gullah People and Their Link to West Africa." Online; Internet. available at

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