Skip to Main Content

Gullah/Geechee History and Culture

After ratification of the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution, banning slavery in 1865, most of the African and American-born slaves along the southeastern coast of the United States remained, cultivating a rich culture.


John Gerar William De Brahm. A map of South Carolina and a part of Georgia. Containing the whole sea-coast; all the islands, inlets, rivers, creeks, parishes, townships, boroughs, roads, and bridges; as also, several plantations, with their proper boundary-lines, their names, and the names of their proprietors 1757. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division

The Gullah/Geechee people of today are descendants of enslaved Africans from several tribal groups of west and central Africa forced to work on the plantations of coastal North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Many waterways parting the land made travel to the mainland difficult and rare. This separation forced people to blend tribal languages with English and maintain arts, crafts, religious beliefs, folklore, rituals, and food preferences connected to their African roots. The Library of Congress is home to a variety of resources related to the history, culture, and language of this unique group of African-Americans.  This guide provides links to materials for researching the Gullah/Geechee history and culture.  Users will find items such as newspaper articles, interviews, photographs, maps, and sound recordings that are available at the Library of Congress. In addition, this guide provides links to selected books from our online catalog for general and young readers. A link to external resources related to the Gullah/Geechee experience is also provided.