Gullah Days: Hilton Head Islanders Before the Bridge 1861-1956

Gullah Days: Hilton Head Islanders Before the Bridge 1861-1956


By Carolyn Grant, Thomas C. Barnwell, Jr., and Emory Shaw Campbell

Available October 29, 2019

ISBN: 9781949467079

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The Gullah culture, though borne of isolation and slavery, thrived on the US East Coast sea islands from pre-Civil War times until today, and nowhere more prominently than on Hilton Head Island, SC. On this small barrier island, descendants of the first generations of Gullah people continue to preserve Gullah language, customs, arts, and cuisine. The three authors of Gullah Days: Hilton Head Islanders Before the Bridge 1861-1956 are among those descendants, and in this book, they chronicle the amazing history of their secluded community from the Civil War through the 1950s, when real estate development connected Hilton Head Island to the mainland with a bridge.

CAROLYN GRANT is a former staff writer for the Island Packet and the Greenville News. Although now closed, Grant worked with her family’s restaurant business, Abe’s Native Shrimp House, which preserved Gullah culture and history through the preparation of Gullah cuisine.

THOMAS C. BARNWELL, JR. was born in 1935 on Hilton Head Island, SC and is a fourth-generation islander who is considered one of the “Gullah Elders” of the island. Barnwell’s work and professional career was primarily in Beaufort County, SC and has included community organizing; community development in healthcare as founding director of Beaufort-Jasper Comprehensive Health Services; affordable housing and cooperatives; and development of family land.

EMOERY SHAW CAMPBELL is the President of the Gullah Heritage Consulting Service. He manages the Gullah Heritage Trail Tours as well as offers lectures and courses related to Gullah Geechee culture. He resides on Hilton Head Island in the neighborhood of his birth.