Voices of a South Carolina Gullah Community from WPA Oral Histories
Coming Through by Genevieve W. Chandler
Book DescriptionThis title presents oral histories of former slaves along the Carolina coast collected by a woman ahead of her time."Coming Through" marks the first publication of the interviews, stories, and folktales of former slaves living in the Waccamaw Neck region of South Carolina as collected as part of the WPA Federal Writers Project. Between 1936 and 1938, Chandler interviewed more than 100 individuals in All Saints Parish, a portion of Horry and Georgetown Counties located between the Waccamaw River and the Atlantic Ocean. Her subjects spoke freely with her on topics ranging from slave punishment to folk medicine, from conditions in the Jim Crow South to the exploits of Brer Rabbit.The subjects range in age from the 5-year-old Cato Singleton to 104-year-old Welcome Bees. These interviews form an intimate portrait of a fascinating subculture of the Carolina Coast and Sea Islands as shared with a woman who was able to move freely within this traditionally insular world. Chandler had no formal training as an oral historian or folklorist, yet the sophistication of her work as documented here anticipates developments in these fields of study a generation beforehand. Her detailed descriptions add social context to folktales and her careful and systematic renderings of the Gullah language have since been praised as foundational work by Creole linguists.The collection includes a foreword by Charles W. Joyner, Burroughs Distinguished Professor of Southern History and Culture at Coastal Carolina University; the editors' survey of the WPA project and of the nuances of Gullah language and culture; and, 15 photographs of the subjects taken by renowned photographer Bayard Wooten - many published here for the first time.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9781570037214
(229mm x 152mm x 32mm)
Imprint: University of South Carolina Press
Publisher: University of South Carolina Press
Publish Date: 15-Oct-2008
Country of Publication: United States
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Author Biography - Genevieve W. Chandler
Genevieve W. Chandler (1890-1980) moved to Murrells Inlet, South Carolina at the age of ten when her father purchased Wachesaw Plantation and the Hermitage. Her short stories were published in Scribner's, Mademoiselle, and Southwestern Review. Kincaid Mills is an investment manager, conservationist, and independent scholar living in Lookout Mountain, Georgia. Daughter of Genevieve W. Chandler, Genevieve C. Peterkin is a local historian and environmental activist living in Murrells Inlet. She is the author of Heaven Is a Beautiful Place: A Memoir of the South Carolina Coast. Aaron McCollough is a professor of English at the University of Michigan and the author of three books of poetry, most recently Little Ease.
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