Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Film Honoring Gullah Heritage Selected for National Registry

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Film Honoring Gullah Heritage Selected for National Registry

Article excerpt

COLUMBIA, S.C.

A film honoring the Gullah heritage has been selected by the Library of Congress for the National Film Registry. Los Angeles director Julie Dash made the film, "Daughters of the Dust," as an homage to her father's heritage.

The registry, which was founded by Congress in 1988 and now includes 400 titles, seeks to preserve films deemed "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" to American history.

"Daughters" is one of 25 chosen for the registry this year. Others selected include "Jailhouse Rock" (1957), "Schindler's List" (1993) and "Unforgiven" (1992).

Dr. Robert Sklar, a New York University cinema studies professor who helped advise on this year's choices, said both the subject matter and artistry of "Daughters" are groundbreaking. The film also marked the first time a Black woman's film had been commercially distributed, he said.

"In an uncompromising way, she made a film about a part of American culture people didn't know much about," Sklar said.

The Gullah were slaves, brought to the Sea Islands of South Carolina and Georgia--where the culture is known as Geechee--in the early 1800s.

Their descendants speak a unique dialect, sprinkled with words spoken by their West African ancestors. …

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