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Walter Edgar’s Journal: Gullah culture in America

Dr. Eric Crawford
Travis Bell
Courtesy of Dr. Crawford
Dr. Eric Crawford

This week, Dr. Eric Crawford, a Gullah/Geechee scholar and Associate Professor of Musicology at Claflin University in Orangeburg, joins us to talk about Gullah culture and about editing a second edition of the late Dr. Wilbur Cross’ book, Gullah Culture in America (Blair, 2022).

The book chronicles the history and culture of the Gullah people, African Americans who live in the Lowcountry region of the American South, telling the story of the arrival of enslaved West Africans to the sea islands of South Carolina and Georgia; the melding of their African cultures, which created distinct creole language, cuisine, traditions, and arts; and the establishment of the Penn School, dedicated to education and support of the Gullah freedmen following the Civil War.

Musical recordings included in this episode: Claflin University Concert Choir directed by Dr. Charlie Toomer performing "Cum Ba Yuh;" arrangement by Dr. Eric Crawford and used with his permission.
"This May Be the Last Time," sung by Lucia Vasquez Valdez, was recorded by Windy Goodloe, and is used with her permission.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.