Gullah Society of Charleston, SC

Team Backpack Journalist bringing in black and white photos by Leonard Freed, taken in 1963 of Johns Island, SC!

Team Backpack Journalist researched photographers who visited the lowcountry of SC during the Civil Rights Era, and earlier.  We discovered Leonard Freed’s work in the book:  “Ain’t you got the right to the Tree of Life”. by Guy and Candie Carawan.

We visited Brigitte Freed at her home, and there viewed hundreds of black and white photos that at found in the book:  “Black in white America”.  Mrs. Freed, generously loaned the Gullah Society for his exhibit a selection of prints from this book.

Team Backpack Journalist members requested a field trip to learn how to do rubbings, and also attended the opening, and in one of the videos here did interview the students that did handle the majority of the rubbings on display.

Exhibit Title: WOKE: Rattling Bones, Conversations, Sacred Rites and Holy Places

Curator: Gullah Society

Venue: City Gallery, Charleston, SC

Date: March 30th – May 6th 2018

 WOKE: Rattling Bones, Conversations, Sacred Rites and Holy Places exhibition will engage the City of Charleston and nearby communities in conversations about the treatment of the thirty-six individuals uncovered in 2013 during construction at the Gaillard Center. Visitors to the City Gallery will be able to  learn about the Anson Street Burials Project in preparation of the re-interment (reburial) of the skeletal remains.

Over the next year (February 2018-2019) Gullah Society will be working with the City of Charleston and other partners to provide a series of  ‘Community Conversations‘, conduct DNA research and facilitate an education and arts program.

We are excited about this significant opportunity to reconcile this past and honor the people that were buried on this sacred ground. The remains of the thirty-six, African-descended, individuals are the earliest burials found in Charleston so far, dating to the mid-late 1700s.  We hope that ancient DNA research will add to archaeological research already completed to help us learn more about the individuals that were buried at this site.

The City Gallery will serve as a laboratory where ‘Community Conversations’ will be held. We will also host a ‘History Harvest,’ Family History, DNA, and Genealogy workshops.  We want to hear what you think are appropriate ways to remember and honor our ancestors buried near Anson Street. Through the community engagement, school and art programs we hope to explore what you would like to see for the memorial. We hope to increase our understanding of the identity of the people buried at this site and their genealogical connection to those of African descent living in Charleston today.

Contact: City of Charleston, Cultural Affairs for further information