Martin Luther King Jr. Research Study Tour


A dozen West Virginia University students will immerse themselves in a culture this spring break that they may have only seen before on Nickelodeon.

A group lead by WVU’s Center for Black Culture & Research leave Friday (March 26) for a research tour to South Carolina to explore the coastal area that houses Gullah cultures. The Gullah nurtured a variety of traditions from the west coast of Africa, including farming rice, weaving sweetgrass baskets and a speaking a language similar to Krio in Sierra Leone.

The center’s associate director, Todd McFadden, said students on the trip may have only known of the culture from a popular TV show called “Gullah Gullah Island.” Now, they will get to experience a distinct part of African-American history.

“With this trip, we’ll be looking at a culture that has not been as well-documented as you’d think something as significant would be,” McFadden said. “Now our students have a chance to learn about and perhaps add to the knowledge of what we know about Gullah culture, unfortunately before it may disappear.”

Last year was the first time the research students blogged about their experiences, a project that will be continued this year.

Blog Entries

Marcus Robinson - Day 4

April 6th, 2010 at 10:04 pm
These last two days have been quite an experience. Learning about the Gullah culture and their history, and the conversations that I have had with Dr. Emory Campbell, Ms. Fuller and the rest of our camp, was has left me with a better sense of African American history and what it means to be black today. The debates on what it means to be African American, and how to maintain our culture and her... Read More

Marcus Robinson - Day 1

April 6th, 2010 at 10:01 pm
In the rumble and the tumble of the darkness, with the sun a distant memory, there was nothing still about this night. Even in all this darkness, the moon is as bright as ever. The only things I see are headlights, rapidly moving trees and the moon, which looks like the size of a quarter, flickering between each swiftly passing tree. After 12 hours, with maybe one or two stops too many, we a... Read More

Issa Thullah

March 30th, 2010 at 11:40 pm
First of all lemme start by saying thanks to all of you for picking me to go on this trip. It’s has been a wonderful turn back to the history that surrounds us everywhere. I’ve enjoyed the stay/visits on the Islands. Walking on the land of these people has been a one of a kind experience for me. Knowing a little bit of their history and actually experiencing some of the Gullah cu... Read More

Marvina Walker

March 30th, 2010 at 11:38 pm
Of all the places we visited in SC—Beaufort, St. Helena Island, Hilton Head Island, & Charleston—our final destination was the one I enjoyed the most. Though Charleston was my favorite, it & the other locations share a particular characteristic: most of the physical history has been destroyed or masked by modern development. Mainstream’s interests propelled increase... Read More

Miles Turner

March 29th, 2010 at 11:48 pm
I was impressed. I was impressed by the culture, by the resorts, by the trees and by almost every other aspect of the island visit. however i was saddened by the lack of community and availability of authentic Gullah culture, even on the island. It is another example of contemporary colonization and a reminder of the capitalistic society America has been founded on. The beach was the most beaut... Read More

Todd McFadden - Day 1

March 28th, 2010 at 8:08 am
Where to begin? This is already a fantastic experience and it is only the first day. We arrived very early on Saturday morning and after only a little sleep we headed out for our first appointment – tired but excited. Gullah culture has long fascinated me – particularly the language. I have been looking forward to learning more. The Penn Center (so named because its founders ... Read More

CBC&R Research Study Tour

March 18th, 2010 at 3:35 pm
This year, the CBC&R Research Study Tour will take us on an unbelievable adventure through a little known part of the African American experience as we explore the culture and history of the Gullah Islands, and historic Charleston, South Carolina. The Gullah people are African Americans who live in the Low Country of South Carolina, which includes both the coastal plain and the Sea Islan... Read More

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