The Charleston Place is honoring Gullah Geechee heritage with a month-long celebration of their culture throughout June. The hotel has partnered with a group of local Gullah experts including: Corey Alston, a fifth generation sweetgrass basket weaver; Kevin Mitchell, an accomplished chef, historian, educator, and author; Chef Charlotte Jenkins, a leading expert in Gullah cuisine; Tia Clark, local crabbing guide and Founder of Casual Crabbing with Tia; College of Charleston’s Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, whose mission is to collect, preserve, and promote the unique history and culture of the African diaspora; and the Plantation Singers, an a cappella gospel singing group.
Starting on June 1st, The Charleston Place will transform visually to pay homage to the Gullah Geechee community, with a large-scale installation designed in conjunction with Corey Alston. In the grand lobby, an assortment of sweetgrass and other native grasses in their raw form will create a display that brings the Lowcountry’s unique coastal habitat indoors, along with an authentically recreated sweetgrass basket stand featuring a collection of handmade baskets by Alston and his family. In the hallways, cast nets and crab traps will be draped from the ceilings, commemorating the significant role that crabbing, fishing, and shrimping has played in Gullah Geechee culture. The hotel’s entrances on King and Meeting Streets will be adorned with large cobalt blue bottle trees, a spiritual Gullah tradition with African roots dating back centuries. Lastly, interactive digital screens will be placed throughout the hallways and lobby showcasing videos and photos from the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, with the goal of educating passersby on Gullah Geechee culture and traditions.
“The Charleston Place is honored to celebrate our rich Gullah Geechee culture, not only on an important day like Juneteenth, but year-round,” said Bob Megargle, Managing Director, The Charleston Place. “The traditions of the Gullah community have shaped Charleston’s cultural legacy, and we are thrilled to be a vehicle to help share those stories and further educate guests and locals on SC history.”
Throughout the month, The Charleston Place will offer a schedule of events and hands-on experiences that pay tribute to Gullah Geechee heritage. Highlights include (descriptions provided by The Charleston Place):
“TASTE THE STATE” BOOK SIGNING WITH KEVIN MITCHELL | JUNE 3, 4-6PM| MARKET STREET CIRCLE
In “Taste the State: South Carolina’s Signature Foods, Recipes, and Their Stories,” chef and culinary instructor Kevin Mitchell and historian David S. Shields present surprising stories from eighty-two of South Carolina’s most distinctive ingredients, such as Carolina Gold rice and Sea Island White Flint corn. Signed copies of the book will be available for purchase. Attendance is complimentary; reservations are encouraged.
One of the Southeast’s most popular a capella and percussion gospel singing groups, The Plantation Singers (right) preserve, educate and celebrate Gullah Geechee culture with soulful renditions of “Amazing Grace,” “When the Saints Go Marching In,” and other beautiful songs of the Lowcountry. Guests and locals alike can enjoy the sweet sounds of the Plantation Singers from the hotel lobby each Friday throughout the month.
“TASTE THE STATE” DINNER| JUNE 4, 6PM | THE PALMETTO CAFE
Kevin Mitchell, chef, author and SC Chef Ambassador will team up with Michelle Weaver, Executive Chef of the Charleston Grill, to create a special five-course tasting menu celebrating SC’s unique culinary history, which inspired Mitchell’s recent book “Taste the State: South Carolina’s Signature Foods, Recipes, and Their Stories”. Attendees will enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail reception in The Palmetto Café and live music. Space is limited and reservations are required. $100/person; cost includes choice of wine, tax, gratuity, and a signed copy of Mitchell’s book.
Corey Alston (right), a fifth generation sweetgrass basket weaver and direct ancestor of a Gullah Geechee family, will lead a captivating demonstration on the 300-year-old craft that traces its origins back to Africa. Participation is complimentary; advance reservations are required.
GULLAH CUISINE TASTE & TALK WITH CHARLOTTE JENKINS| JUNE 22, 5:30-6:30PM | THE PALMETTO CAFE
A leading expert in authentic Gullah cooking and co-author of “Gullah Cuisine: By Land and By Sea,” Chef Charlotte Jenkins will share stories of her culinary adventures while providing a tasting of Gullah dishes. Space is limited and reservations are required. $20/person.
Tia Clark (right), a Charleston native and food and beverage veteran, started her company Casual Crabbing with Tia in 2017, which has been recognized as one of Airbnb’s best experiences in the world. During this unique hands-on experience, she will teach participants how to master the delicate art of throwing a cast net. Participation is complimentary; space is limited and reservations are required.
Additionally, guests of The Charleston Place can now book two new overnight experiences, the “Casual Crabbing with Tia” package during which guests learn the tricks of crabbing from a Charleston native, and the “Anchored in History” package where guests travel by boat and carriage with an expert historian on a journey through the 300-year history of National Landmark, Middleton Place in partnership with Coastal Expeditions.
For more information on these experiences or to make a reservation, visit The Charleston Place website.