Tag Archives: People of Coastal Georgia

Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters at the Gathering, Riceboro

I drove down to Riceboro yesterday to see the wonderful work Jim Bacote (above, right) has done with Geechee Kunda and to check out his Gathering, an annual celebration of Geechee and Gullah folkways. Jim is passionate about preserving this history and it’s tangible. Geechee Kunda is the culmination of his lifelong fascination with this endangered way of life. I first met him a couple of years ago when he was still working on his museum and history center so I didn’t get to make any photographs. He invited me to come back and  I’m so glad I finally got to see it yesterday.

The highlight for me was a performance by the Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters (not to be confused with the McIntosh County Shouters, who organized about a decade before the Geechee Gullah). This group of dedicated men and women share the ring shout with the world and aim for authenticity. They’re historic interpreters of the highest order and preserve a tradition that was thought to be extinct as recently as 1980. Historians believe the ring shout is the oldest surviving African performance tradition in North America. While “shouting” in the vocal sense is a part of the performance, linguist Lorenzo Dow Turner, who spent a lifetime researching the Gullah language and culture, suggested that the term came from the Afro-Arabic word saut. This is a reference to the forward-moving shuffle, during which the feet are not to cross, associated with pilgrimages to the Kabaa at Mecca.

It’s hard not to come away from a performance by the Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters with a better understanding of a culture that, especially as white Southerners, we have kept at a distance at best or dismissed altogether at worst.

One thing you’ll quickly notice when you’re around the Shouters is their charisma. They’re very passionate about what they’re doing and you can feel it. You not only learn but you’re uplifted, as well.

In 2011, the Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters set the Guinness World Record for leading the largest recorded ring shout, during the “Word, Shout, Song” exhibit at the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum in Washington, D. C.

Besides the world record ring shout, the group is also proud to have among their performers Mrs. Butler (above, right), who at 90 is the world’s oldest living ring shouter. She’s amazing.

At the end of the performance, a narrative of Emancipation is re-enacted and is quite powerful. If you couldn’t already tell, I was very moved by these living historians and would encourage anyone who has the opportunity to attend one of their events.

 

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Filed under -LIBERTY COUNTY, Riceboro GA

Surf Fishing, St. Simons Island

st-simons-island-ga-surf-fisherman-photograph-copyright-brian-brown-vanishing-coastal-georgia-usa-2016

 

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Filed under -GLYNN COUNTY, St. Simons Island GA

Colonial Faire & Muster, Isle of Hope

Colonial Faire & Muster Wormsloe Isle of Hope Savannah GA Reenactor Oaks Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2016

The first weekend in February brings a popular celebration to historic Wormsloe each year, with colorful reenactors and period vendors on hand.

Colonial Faire & Muster Wormsloe Traditional Dance Isle of Hope Savannah GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2016Colonial-era dances are always a popular activity and the public is encouraged to join in.

Colonial Faire & Muster Wormsloe Plantation Isle of Hope Savannah Reenctor Tents Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2016

One can really appreciate the difficult lives of Georgia’s first settlers, especially on a damp, cold day.

Colonial Faire & Muster Wormsloe Isle of Hope Savannah GA Soldier Reenactor Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2016

Military reenactors win the prize for best-dressed participants.

Colonial Faire & Muster Wormsloe Isle of Hope Savannah GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2016Colonial militia reenactors have an obvious passion for history.

Colonial Faire & Muster Wormsloe Historic Site Isle of Hope Savannah GA Reenactors Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2016

Their dress is quite colorful.

Colonial Faire & Muster Wormsloe Isle of Hope Savannah GA Ladies Reenactors Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2016

These ladies were braiding belts and had some for sale, giving a nice demonstration of Colonial crafts.

Colonial Faire & Muster Wormsloe Savannah Reenactors Drummer Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2016

If you’re ever in Savannah the first weekend of February, check out this event. It’s a great way to celebrate Georgia history.

Colonial Faire & Muster Wormsloe State Historic Site Isle of Hope Savannah GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2016

 

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Filed under -CHATHAM COUNTY, Isle of Hope GA

Forsyth Farmers’ Market, Savannah

Forsyth Farmers Market Savannah GA Fresh Georgia Peaches Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

Every Saturday (from 9AM-1PM) year round, the South End of Forsyth Park is the place to be in Savannah. The Forsyth Farmers’ Market was founded in 2009 by six women who came together with the intention of supporting their common vision of a local food system that is good for the health of all people and the environment.  They merged with the existing Starland market and sought permission from the city to allow a farmers’ market in historic Forsyth Park. The first market was on 9 May 2009From the very beginning, the market has focused on food and food issues which is why it is a producer-only market (meaning all vendors have to be producing at least 75% of the products they sell)  and allows only food and plant vendors.  * from the Forsyth Farmers’ Market website

Forsyth Farmers Market Savannah GA Organic Green Beans Carrots Onions Potatoes Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

Organic vendors from all over the Low Country bring a wide variety of wholesome vegetables.

Forsyth Farmers Market Savannah GA Organic Potatoes Onions Red Cabbage Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

Fresh cut flowers, like these zinnias and sunflowers, are available in the spring and summer.

Forsyth Farmers Market Savannah GA Zinnias Sunflowers Fresh Cut Flowers Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

Products made from local crops are also on offer, like Vegetable Kingdom’s popular Hot Chow Chow.

Forsyth Farmers Market Savannah GA Vegetable Kingdom Hot Chow Chow Photograph Copyriht Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

Bell peppers, blackberries, and okra were in abundance when I was there.

Forsyth Farmers Market Savannah GA Organic Bell Peppers Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

Forsyth Farmers Market Savannah GA Organic Blackberries Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

Forsyth Farmers Market Savannah GA Fresh Organic Okra Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

All the vendors at the market accept cash, but if you’re bringing plastic, you have to buy tokens which are used like cash. They eliminate the “middle man”, i.e. the bank and its transaction fees. This way, vendors can concentrate on what’s most important: their wonderful produce and food items.

Forsyth Farmers Market Savannah GA Token Exchange Information Booth Photogaph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

Visit them online for particulars, or better yet, make a point to visit them on any given Saturday! It’s an experience you won’t soon forget, and if you live near Savannah, you’ll likely return.

http://forsythfarmersmarket.com/

 

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Filed under -CHATHAM COUNTY, Savannah GA

Southern Soul Barbeque, St. Simons Island

Southern Soul Barbeque Smoke Joint St Simons Island GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

I rarely endorse businesses on any of my websites, but some places are so extraordinary they deserve a mention. One such place is the unlikely St. Simons landmark, Southern Soul Barbeque. You might have read about it in Garden & Gun, Southern Living, or The New  York Times, or seen it on the Travel Channel, or the popular Food Network show, Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives. But none of those outlets can compare to a visit in the flesh. Owners Griffin Bufkin and Harrison Sapp transformed this 1940s gas station into a mecca for barbeque and soul food lovers and their fans are legion. There’s a great beer selection and a good variety of sauces for different tastes. (I prefer the mustard/vinegar-based Carolina style sauces, none of the sweet stuff for me).

Southern Soul Barbeque Pulled Pork Plate Mac Cheese Collard Greens St Simons Island GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

Everyone probably has his own favorite dish. Mine is the first meal I ever ate here. The pulled pork with mac & cheese and collard greens was truly heaven on a plate. The white bread was a fitting accompaniment to this holy trinity of Southern cuisine.

Southern Soul Barbeque Restaurant St Simons Island GA Cool Pit Cook Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

You know it’s going to be good when the employees who work in the heat and smoke all day still have smiles on their faces.

Southern Soul Barbeque St Simons Island GA Food Writing Books Cornbread Nation SFA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

Books like the Southern Foodways Alliance’s classic series, Cornbread Nation, take up shelf space with modern culinary classics ranging from The Whole Hog Cookbook and Southern Belly to  Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey and Smoke and Pickles. As a reader and book collector, I was amazed!

Southern Soul Barbeque St Simons Island GA Patrons Inside Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

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Filed under -GLYNN COUNTY, St. Simons Island GA

On Board

Shrimp Boat Family Darien GA McIntosh County in 2012 Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

This is an outttake from the 2012 Blessing of the Fleet. I believe this boat was the Amazing Grace, which was lost not long after the festival.

 

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Filed under -MCINTOSH COUNTY, Darien GA

Gravesite of General Francis Hopkins, Crescent

General Francis Hopkins Headstone Hopkins Belleville Cemetery Crescent GA McIntosh County Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

In Memoriam – General Francis Hopkins – Obit MDCCCXXI – Aged 49 Years

General Francis Hopkins (10 November 1770 – 5 May 1821) gave the land for this cemetery, known as the Hopkins-Belleville Cemetery. It’s located behind Crescent Baptist Church. Born an only child to South Carolina parents in Bluffton with Loyalist ties, Hopkins and his wife Rebecca Sayre (March 1776 – 3 August 1850) moved to Georgia at the urging of Thomas Spalding, who sold the family several plantations along the coast. They first resided at Chatelet Plantation on Sapelo Island, better known today as Chocolate. He would eventually own five plantations and over 150 slaves.

Hopkins entered the Georgia Militia as a Lieutenant in McIntosh County. He was commissioned a Captain, then a Major of the McIntosh County Battalion during the War of 1812. In 1817 he was commissioned Brigadier-General, 1st Brigade of the 1st Division, in command of the militia in the counties of Wayne, Camden, Glynn, Liberty, McIntosh, Bryan, Chatham and Effingham.

General Hopkins served eight terms as McIntosh County’s representative in the state legislature and spent two years as a state senator. He was a justice of the McIntosh Inferior Court from 1813 until his death.

Crescent GA McIntosh County Hopkins Belleville Cemetery General Hopkins Family Plot Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

The enclosed burial plot of his family is the most interesting feature of the cemetery. To access the site, you walk up a set of steps and then down a set of steps to get inside the enclosure.

Crescent GA McIntosh County General Francis Hopkins Family Burial Enclosure Plantation Owner Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

Crescent GA McIntosh County General Francis Hopkins Family Burial Enclosure Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

The smaller enclosure within the walls is likely the earliest feature; the bricks are beginning to collapse.

 

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Filed under -MCINTOSH COUNTY, Crescent GA