Historic City News reader Derek Boyd Hankerson reported that Florida Governor Rick Scott provided an executed a certificate proclaiming October, 2015, as Gullah Geechee Awareness Month in Florida.
The Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor was established by federal legislation in 2006 to recognize the important contributions made to American culture and history by African Americans known as Gullah Geechee, who settled in the coastal counties of South Carolina,
Georgia, North Carolina and Florida.
The organization, of which Hankerson is a leader, assists in interpreting the story of Gullah Geechee people and preserving Gullah Geechee folklore, arts, crafts, and music, while identifying and preserving sites, historical data, artifacts, and objects associated with the Gullah Geechee people, for the benefit and education of the public.
One accomplishment Hankerson tells local reporters he is most proud of, is that when the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor was first planned, we weren’t part of it. Thanks largely to Hankerson’s efforts, the current Corridor Management Plan defines the boundary to include St. Johns County, Florida.
Hankerson was able to compile research from the records of descendants of the Gullah Geechee people still living along Florida’s coast, and prove that coastal communities in Duval, Nassau, and St. Johns Counties also possess the historic presence of Gullah Geechee people.