Students Learn About Gullah Influence

The Lowcountry Gullah culture came to life for students at Trident Academy, a K-12 school in Mt. Pleasant for students with learning differences. On December 12, 2012, Dr. Herman Blake, a recognized national expert on Gullah culture spoke at Trident Academy as part of the Global EXPLORE! program.

“It was such an exciting experience and incredible opportunity for the students to hear the personal experiences of Dr. Blake with such strong connections to the Gullah culture here in the Lowcountry,” says Becky Pritchard, Global EXPLORE! program coordinator. “Beyond his academic point of view, Dr. Blake has deep roots within the Gullah-Geechee culture, reflected by family connections and his personal life experience.”

Dr. Blake, the Humanities Scholar in Residence at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), told the students about his first-hand experiences and shared his view of the immense impact the Gullah culture has had on the development of the Charleston area.

Throughout his career, Dr. Blake has focused on minority students in higher education, urban militants in the African American community and social change and community development in rural and urban African American communities. He founded the Sea Island Institute and worked with Alex Haley, known for his production of “Roots” and Pat Conroy, author of The Water is Wide, to showcase the history of the African American heritage on Daufuskie Island. His publications include over fifty full-length contributions and a book, the autobiography of Huey P. Newton, Revolutionary Suicide. He has been awarded six honorary degrees and two presidential medals. Dr. Blake has a BA from New York University and an MA and Ph.D. from the University of California-Berkeley.

The Global EXPLORE! program uses an experiential learning format so students can explore global links and issues by looking and acting locally. The goals of the yearlong program are to illustrate to students the importance of being global citizens, to showcase career options available to them as they look to their own future, and to recognize the educational opportunities in using the Lowcountry as a classroom. Watch a video.