Congressman Clyburn Hails Senate Passage of Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Bill

Dec 8, 2004

(Washington, DC) -- Congressman James E. Clyburn (D-SC) today praised the U.S. Senate for its passage of his Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Act.  This authorization bill creates a Commission under the auspices of the National Park Service to oversee the development of three interpretive centers and administer grants aimed at preserving this unique blend of African and Anglo language and traditions.

"I have been amazed at the tremendous support and interest this bill has generated nationwide," Congressman Clyburn said.  "Senators Hollings and Graham were among the bill's ardent supporters, and I thank them for their efforts to insure this legislation passed before adjournment."

Congressman Clyburn introduced HR 4683 in July in response to a National Park Service study, which underscored the culture's rapid disappearance as development infringes on the coastal communities in Georgia and South Carolina where this culture has thrived in isolation for generations.  The National Register of Historic Places echoed the concerns of the Park Service by including the Gullah/Geechee coast on its list of 11 most endangered sites.

"The overwhelming support of this legislation is confirmation that the Gullah/Geechee culture is a national treasure and worth our immediate efforts to protect it from further encroachment," Congressman Clyburn said.

The bill authorizes $1 million per year for ten years to carry out the mission of the Commission.  The money must be appropriated in separate legislation.