Edda Fields-Black

Assoc Professor
Carnegie Mellon University

I am a direct descendant Africans enslaved on nine rice plantations (Colleton and Beaufort Counties, SC), most were owned by Nathaniel Heyward, the largest slave holder in the US. As a child, I visited my extended family, great-grandmother, aunts, uncles, and cousins, every summer in Green Pond, Whitehall, and Over Swamp, South Carolina with my parents and paternal grandparents. Since an early age, I have been curious about my grandparents “peculiar” speech patterns. My mother's historical and genealogical research about my father's family in preparation for and during family summer vacations was my first inkling of Gullah as both a rich language and culture with its own peculiar history. My destiny to tell the stories of Africans enslaved on Lowcountry SC and GA rice plantations has taken me to the rice fields of Sierra Leone and Republic of Guinea in West Africa, South Carolina and Georgia.

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