The Story of the Gullah-Speaking People
by Muriel Miller Branch
A wonderful book for young readers that allows an intense experience of gullah history and culture.
A portrait of the Gullah people who forged out of the oppressive circumstances
of slavery a unique African-American culture. The survival and retention
of their language and ancestral customs make the Gullah the most "authentic"
Americans of African descent today.
Ages 10 & up.106 pages. 2000.
Muriel Miller Branch
has researched and written about neglected historic personalities
and events in women's and African-American history and culture since 1980.
She has authored or co-authored several books, one being selected by the Black
Caucus of the American Library Association as one of the "Best Books for Young
Readers," and Chicago Public Libraries, "Best of the Best for 1998."
Branch is a recipient of numerous awards and she is active in organizations
related to writing, education, women and African-American culture.
She lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband and her mother, who she claims
as one of her greatest sources of inspiration. She has five children and
" I must be one of
the most fortunate people in the work world, for I've been blessed with several
careers. For thirty-one years, I was a school librarian, a career I knew I
wanted to pursue as for back as my freshman year at Luther P. Jackson High
School in Cumberland County, Virginia. I am a storyteller, an avocation
that evolved naturally from being the daughter of a country preacher and from
years of listening to family storytellers: a historian, thanks to the oral
histories passed on to me with such flourish by my elders; and a writer because
my mentor, Brent Ashabranner, discerned a talent I had not recognized in myself.
I strive to be a good steward of the gifts and talents God has given me, and I
have been richly blessed for my diligence and perseverance." --Muriel Miller
Some Gullah words with African origins.
The language or country of origin is listed in parentheses
A'min - Amen (Wolof)
be - to cultivate, to clean, to remove debris (Temme)
bid', bidi - small bird, small chicken (Kongo)
buckra - white man (Ibidio)
da (dada) - mother, nurse, or elder woman (Ewe)
dash away - to get rid of a bad habit
dayclean - dawn
de - to be (Igbo)
differ - a quarrel
e - pronoun for he, she, it
eh - yes (Igbo)
fanner - a large shallow basket made of wild grass and palmetto,
used to thresh rice from its hull.
hudu - to cause bad luck to someone (Via)
kuta - tortoise, turtle (Mende)
nyam, nam - to eat
nanse - spider (Temme)
nana - elderly woman, grandmother (Twi)
oona, hoona - you, singular or plural, from the word "ona,"
meaning one or a single person
plat-eye - a prowling ghost or evil spirit
shut mout' - secretive or withdrawn
tata - father (Kongo)
tote - to pick up (Kongo)
toti frog - frog (Via)
uni - you, your (Ibo)
yam - sweet potato (Mende)