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Names & Land

Updated: Aug 9, 2022

One aspect of culture is material culture. Material culture includes things like historic buildings and landmarks. Immaterial culture includes things like language and values. Within the Gullah Geechee ethnicity, two things matter: names and land. Names are important within our community because they can often be seen as prophecies spoken over your lives. Names, specifically last names, indicate your ppl be. The name Gullah Geechee alone represents a specific group of people. An anointed people. The descendants of the enslaved Africans who labored on the sea island plantations from Jacksonville NC to Jacksonville, FL, and about 50 miles inland along the coast. Now, if you Black and ya ppl have been in those areas for centuries, YOU ARE GULLAH GEECHEE. You may not claim it, you may not have known before, you may not have even heard the term until recently, but that does not negate who your ancestors are. In Southeastern NC, a lot of people do not identify as Gullah Geechee. But why is that? A couple of things, but one is you didn’t know because no one called you that. No one called you your name. Because you were never really called that, you didn’t identify with the culture. You didn’t know that’s who you are. You didn’t know your name. When it comes to land. Land is sacred. All we want is land. Land to keep in our family. Land to pass down. But we see what’s going on in our African American communities. Our land’s being taken from us, due to gentrification. A lot of us are selling our land because we cannot afford to live in our native towns anymore. So we leave and are displaced. Two things define a culture, the language and the land. They are the two indicators of who we are and where we come from. If our land and language are taken so is our culture. The land part is tricky, and I’m not gonna even pretend to know how to go about that. But I know how to make sure someone calls me what I am and I know how to use my language. Let’s say our name. Let’s make people respect it.

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