The Byron & Christine Johnson Lecture/Discussion Series   Theme:  The Water Brought Us:  Gullah History & Culture

Gullah/Geechee people are descendants of enslaved Africans who were brought to America to work on the plantations of coastal Georgia and South Carolina.  Their descendants never forgot who they were or where they came from, staying connected to their African culture in their everyday lives.  In exemplifying the concepts of history, heritage, and hope, the Gullah—their origins, language, religion, and art forms–assume the focus of the 2007 Johnson Lecture Series.

I Have a Dream Monument:  “Rosa Parks”

Saturday, January 27, 2007, 10:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M.

Continuing our annual January focus on the City Park’s “I Have a Dream Monument,” Wallace Yvonne Tollette will acknowledge the contributions of the late Rosa Parks and her relationship to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sea Island Folks:  Slavery & Freedom

Saturday, February 17, 2007, 10:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M.

The history of the Gullah will come alive as Judy Strathearn discusses their connection to the Rice Coast of West Africa; Jacquelyn Benton addresses their Civil War history; and Larry Borum  their connection to the Seminole Indians.

The Ring Shout Tradition/The Gullah Bible

Saturday, March 17, 2007, 10:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M.

Art Jones and Pat Caldwell come together to shed light on Gullah religion and language, by emphasizing the Ring Shout Tradition, which always accompanied the singing of Negro spirituals, and by acknowledging De Nyew Testament, the Gullah Bible released in 2005.

Indigo & Bottle Trees/Quilts & Sweetgrass Baskets

Saturday, April 21, 2007, 10:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M.

Ella Maria Ray and Mary Lassiter, a gifted sculptor and quilter respectively, will bring their wares to accompany their discussion of indigo dying, a retention of Gullahs working on indigo plantation; the Gullah (and African) belief in glass bottle trees; and the Gullah art forms of quilting and sweetgrass baskets.

Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust:  A Gullah/Geechee Film

Saturday, May 5, 2007, 10:00 A.M. – 2:00 P.M.

Set in the sea islands, Daughters of the Dust, the beautiful feature film of African American filmmaker Julie Dash, will be shown with a discussion of the film’s Gullah elements following the viewing.  Since this final session is a fundraiser, a luncheon will be served and books on the Gullah will be available for purchase.

*All the sessions take place at Park Hill United Methodist Church,

5209 Montview Blvd (Montview & Glencoe), Denver, CO 80207