Congressman Clyburn Heralds Announcement of the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission

Oct 29, 2007

(Charleston, SC) – Today the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor took a giant step forward in its effort to preserve the rich Sea Island culture and history. The National Park Service officially announced the 15-member Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission in Charleston, South Carolina charged with overseeing the implementation of this federally-designated corridor that stretches from Jacksonville, Florida to Wilmington, North Carolina.

U.S. House Majority Whip, and author of the legislation that created the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, James E. Clyburn (SC-6) reveled in the announcement of the new commission. As a former history teacher, he framed his remarks to the new commissioners in historic terms.

“The story of the Gullah/Geechee people and their contributions to this country began in 1619 when the first Africans arrived at the Jamestown settlement,” Congressman Clyburn said. “After more than seven years of work to establish this corridor, today marks the first day of the hard work this commission will undertake to preserve and share that nearly 400-year history that is the core purpose of this initiative.” Congressman Clyburn implored the commission not be deterred when their jobs are difficult.

“It is going to be tough. You will be criticized, but don’t be afraid,” the Congressman advised. “I believe if you show me someone who has never been criticized, I will show you someone who has never done anything.” The commissioner and audience of 200 at the historic Avery Institute in Charleston applauded the sentiment.

Congressman Clyburn commended the work of the National Park Service, especially Michael Allen of the Charles Pinckney Center in Charleston, for their leadership in compiling the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission.

“I know the corridor is in good hands with the commission and Mike’s guidance from the National Park Service,” Congressman Clyburn concluded. “My job now is to insure the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor receives funding, and to look for new opportunities to create additional heritage corridors in South Carolina.”

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Following is a list of the newly appointed Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commissioners. For more information about the Commission, press HERE or contact Michael Allen at the Charles Pinckney Center in Charleston at (843) 883-3123 x36.

Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission Expert Commissioners & Alternates
There are five expert positions on the Commission nominated by the National Park Service—2 from SC, and one each from Florida, Georgia and North Carolina.

Florida
Commissioner (Expert) – Antoinette Jackson
Alternate Commissioner (Expert) – Anthony E. Dixon

Georgia
Commissioner (Expert) -- Jeanne Cyriaque
Alternate Commissioner (Expert) – Vacant

North Carolina
Commissioner (Expert) – Dr. John H. Haley
Alternate Commissioner (Expert) – Dr. David B. Frank

South Carolina
Commissioner (Expert) – Emory Campbell
Commissioner (Expert) -- Marquetta Goodwin
Alternate Commissioner (Expert) – Dr. J. Herman Blake
Alternate Commissioner (Expert) – Nichole Green

State Nominated Commissioners and Alternates
There are ten positions on the Commission nominated by the State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs) –four from South Carolina and two each from Florida, Georgia and North Carolina.

Florida
Commissioner (SHPO) – Glenda Simmons Jenkins
Commissioner (SHPO) – Ralph B. Johnson
Alternate Commissioner (SHPO) – William Jefferson

Georgia
Commissioner (SHPO) –Charles H. Hall
Commissioner (SHPO) –Althea Natalga Sumpter
Alternate Commissioner (SHPO) – Amir Jamal Toure’
Alternate Commissioner (SHPO) –Deborah L. Mack

North Carolina
Commissioner (SHPO) – Shirlean Spicer
Commissioner (SHPO) – Eulis Alexander Willis
Alternate Commissioner (SHPO) – Lana Carter

South Carolina
Commissioner (SHPO) – Ronald Daise
Commissioner (SHPO) – Louise Miller Cohen
Commissioner (SHPO) –William Saunders