While in Beaufort, SC, it was a treat to get an introduction to the Gullah culture through the Penn Center on St. Helena Island. The Gullah community are descendants of former slaves from Africa and still have a strong sense of identity and community. You can read about the culture on the Penn Center website or at Ultimate Gullah. The Penn Center itself is “the site of one of the country’s first schools for freed slaves and one of the most significant African American historical and cultural institutions in existence today.” It has a rich history in the civil rights era, too, and still supports members of the community in just about any way they might it. The Penn Center also houses a museum and has beautiful quilts, baskets, and art work for sale. And beautiful grounds to walk around, too.
It’s definitely worth a visit, and if you do, be sure to eat at the Gullah Grub cafe. Great menu! I had delicious cornbread and shark strips. My compatriots enjoyed a twice-baked macaroni and cheese that looked so tempting. Wish I’d had room for the sweet potato pie!