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African-American History of Georgetown

The fortunes of antebellum planters in the Georgetown area were built on the institution of slavery. African slaves by the thousands tended the rice, indigo, and cotton agriculture dominating the trade of South Carolina. It was not uncommon for the slave population to outnumber the white population of landowners in many areas of South Carolina. African customs and traditions endured despite plantation owners’ attempts to diminish the cultural heritage of their slaves. Aspects of African and European culture creolized, or combined, to form a distinct new culture we know today as Gullah.

After emancipation, once enslaved African-Americans entered the Georgetown community as free citizens, some set up businesses on Front Street working in trades learned while they were slaves. Gullah language and traditions continue to transfer through generations, and are unique to the culture of South Carolina's lowcountry.

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