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Mar 17 2014

De Gullah Roots Festival A Smashing Success

By Michel Hammes for The Island Connection

Carolyn White entertains the crowd with Gullah stories.

Carolyn White entertains the crowd with Gullah stories.

Over 500 people attended the John’s Island Library De Gullah Roots Festival: A Celebration of Sea Island Culture featuring Gullah Grub & Sweetgrass on Saturday, February 22.

Attendees at the De Gullah Roots Festival add to Sharon Cooper-Murray’s rag quilt.

Attendees at the De Gullah Roots Festival add to Sharon Cooper-Murray’s rag quilt.

This free family festival featured cooking with nationally recognized Gullah Chef Bill Green; storytelling by Carolyn “Jabulile” White; spirituals and rag quilting by Sharon Cooper- Murray; and sweetgrass basket making with Jery Taylor, and a screening of the documentary Prelude to a Sweetgrass Basket.

Chef Green prepared collard greens and hoppin john, which the attendees were able to sample at the end of his cooking demonstration. After sharing African spirituals, Sharon Cooper-Murray brought out one of her rag quilts still in progress and had everyone tied on a rag.

When it is done, she said, it will have had over 10,000 hands on it. Taylor talked about the lengthy process of preparing sweetgrass before the baskets are begun, and Carolyn White entertained the crowds with Gullah stories.

Outside, the presenter’s displayed their crafts, including Sharon Cooper-Murray’s twiss-up dolls, Jery Taylor’s exquisite sweetgrass baskets and paintings, Carolyn White’s CD’s, and Gullah Chef Bill Green spices and sauces.

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