|Sons of Allen and Mr. J. Harper of Georgetown County, SC, Terry James and Joe McGill, USCT 54th Mass Co. I|
Guests also attended an awesome Gullah storytelling event featuring Zenobia Washington, Gloria Barr Ford, and Sophia Jackson of Oatland section, Georgetown County, SC. These awesome performing artists imparted such a synergistic exuberance. From heartfelt Geechee wrenchings, to comedic Gullah parables, and fictional historical storytelling, these women were sights and sounds to behold. Kudos to Hopsewee for taking the plunge!
Ramona La Roche, M.Ed.Founder of Family TYES SC
Following dinner and an exhilarating presentation, the YPD group stayed overnight in one of the property's slave cabins. This is the first 2013 stay as part of McGill's Slave Dwelling Project.
The following is Gullah Gal, Ramona La Roche's reflection on the night spent in the slave cabin.
Dose sebin boys jus wanna huddle up, joke, crak he teet, and ting. Play wid dem dere cell phones most ob da night. Wen dem be ax wha dey tink bout the Gullah storee, dey say it be good! Dey like dem songs en wan hear mo. Da grown folk ax dem wha dey wan do wen dey all grown. Dem say tings like ball player, football en artist. Shucks, I ain’t know bout no colored chirrun mekin’ no art, but I tink maybe today, such a ting be possible in dese times! So many changes, enna bunch mo tings hunnah can do now days. I tenk Gawd fa dese chillun wan cum hyere en be wid alla wi dis nite. Dese hyere boys, dey's got speshil callin'!
Dem colored soleja men frum Florence and Kingstree, dey sure was lookin good in dem dere soleja clothes. Dat blue and grey mek dem fellas and me feel right proud. I reckon dey gwine mek sum Gulah oomans right proud one day!
It warm up unda dese blankets and tings, jus as long as hunnah keep mi head unda da cobers! Eben do it be cold out, we haffa keep sum air cummin in da window crak for wi to breat. I ascared dat iffin I dus poke mi head out jes one mo time, hunnah eyes and tings gwine burn agin frum alla da soot in da air. I can’t take no mo.
I dus wonda why dat mahn frum Plantersville dus ax hunnah if I dus hab asma! I tell im no, not mi! Dats why wi dus drink da liffamalasin tea, keep us open up! Soon, alla wi, does huddle up in wi quilts en blankits and such. I can barely git a long skretch ob sleep, cuz Brudda Hardy, he haffa keep on stirring up ever so time, to add log to da fire, or else we be da freeze! So I jus pray, tenk Gawd and ax he, “Lawd, please let me hab cler breat undda dis cober, cuz I ain’t wan no mo burnin’ eyes and stuff up nose”.
So sum time, dos pass, and hunnah can hear da owl dus hoot and hoot and hoot. Shucks, iffa cuzzin Abe was hyear, he wudda sey dat dere owl does bring on deat; so I was glad he no cum! Some time pass, en I can hear dat young mahn on da oder side. He tryin’ to turn side ways, his wrist shackles, dat sound not right in my ears! How did my ancestors mek dey way tru alla dat mix up and ting?
My eyes start to tearin’ en hunnah ain’t know if it be da soot or mi heart that mekking me feel so! I pray for more comfort in my sleep en tenk Gawd dese chirrun don haffa walk wid dey head down no more! Da Lawd place a warm wet coverin’ ober my eyelids. I rest a bit mo at ease --- joy cometh in da …........... Day Clear, I rise. Me no wan to rise up outta dat warm pallet on da hard wood floor; but tenkful to put my eyes pon yet anodda day clear; not wantin to, but able to return bak to da field, da kitchen, da big house and harsh trute of dis hyear plantation life!
As alla wi stan pon wi feet, hunnah mek sure mi and alla dem mahn folks hab Eucalyptus oil fa to open up dey stuff up sinus frum all dat soot en cool night air! We tek some deep breats, mek our way out da cabin. Down by the Nort Santee Riber alla wi dus go!
* Young Peoples' Department (YPD) is the male youth group of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. 20 years ago, the AME Church created the Sons of Allen Men's fellowship to foster closer relationship between men of the church, to equip them for meaningful service, and to present positive role models for youth.