Lowcountry: Gullah Food and Gullah Life

Sat, May 20, 2023
Greensboro Cultural Center Van Dyke Performance Space (1st Floor)

The richness of American culture depends upon the specific, often isolated, idiosyncrasies of local culture. Matthew Raiford and Eric Crawford are invested in keeping the lowcountry Gullah culture alive and vibrant and giving us a glimpse into its values and culinary delights.

About the authors

MATTHEW RAIFORD is a descendant of the Freshwater Gullah Geechie of Coastal Georgia. He grew up on land that has sustained his family for seven generations; Gilliard Farms, purchased by his great-great-great-grandfather Jupiter Gilliard in 1874, is now in the hands of this sixth-generation farmer in Brunswick, GA. He, alongside his wife Tia are also owners of Strong Roots 9, a lifestyle brand which is dedicated to creating products and experiences for Americans to reconnect with the nation’s natural heritage, from the perspective of the people whose ancestors helped build it. Matthew is the author of the celebrated cookbook Bress ‘n’ Nyam: Gullah Geechee Recipes from a Sixth Generation Farmer.

Matthew enjoys traveling and experiencing other food cultures from the agrarian to the cooking and loves teaching whether it be cooking or gardening in the backyard or creating compost systems for larger farm life. His passion lies in creating food memories for others by preparing local, organic, and flavorful foods. READ MORE ABOUT MATTHEW

ERIC CRAWFORD is an Associate Professor of Musicology at Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina. His research focuses on the rich tradition of Gullah music, specifically the retentions and alterations that have occurred since the antebellum period. Beginning in 2007, he conducted extensive field recordings on Saint Helena Island, site of the historic Port Royal Experiment. In 2013, the Athenaeum Press at Coastal Carolina University published his field interviews in a CD and accompanying booklet entitled Gullah: The Voice of an Island.

Since 2018, Crawford has worked on the Gullah Geechee Digital Project, which will digitize more than 6,900 historic records. In 2021, he appeared in Henry Louis Gates’ miniseries “The Black Church” and was music consultant for the Amazon miniseries “The Underground Railroad.” His books include Gullah Spirituals: The Sound of Freedom and Protest in the South Carolina Sea Islands (2021) and Gullah Culture in America (March 2023).

About the Host
Rodney Dawson is an Army veteran, former on-air radio personality, and former Crisis Prevention Intervention instructor. He received his Ed.S (Education Specialist) degree from Liberty University. Rodeny is currently is the Education and Interpretation Specialist for the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission a division of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. Always acknowledging the importance of different types of education, Rodney obtained a bachelor’s degree in music production, plus a masters in Instructional Technology, an Education Specialist degree in Educational Leadership and Rodney is currently a Doctoral Candidate in Education Leadership.