History & Background
The Gullah culture is infectious with its inviting, down-to-earth, “take your shoes off, pull up a seat at the table, eat something, and “krak teet (talk) for a while” personality. Once hunnah (you) gone Gullah, there’s no turning back!
Descendants of Western Africans, the native Gullah people were enslaved on the rice and cotton plantations of the southeast coast, including right here on Hilton Head. The Gullah peoples deep rooted music traditions influenced much of the gospel, rhythm and blues, ragtime, and jazz music today. Soulful music – the kind that gives you goosebumps – are part of Gullah music traditions. Their creative use of available foods on the coast, stretching ingredients to go further, along with adding traditional African cooking methods resulted in much of the food that is considered “southern” today. Born out of necessity (but now considered an art form), basket-weaving and textile arts are other areas of Gullah heritage that influenced art today.
On Hilton Head Island, Gullah people were part of the historic Mitchellville, known today as the first self-governed town for enslaved Americans. Mitchelville was a template for democracy, long before the concept of equality was considered, and Mitchelville is known today as the place where freedom began!
The pioneering Gullahs who excelled in music, art, culinary talents, and democracy are part of all of our heritage. For this reason, anyone and everyone should celebrate our Gullah heritage and culture. We’re all Gone Gullah!
About The Founder
Born and raised on Hilton Head into one of the oldest native families in the Spanish Wells community, Omolola “Lola” Campbell is of Gullah descent.
Her great-grandfather was The Rev. Solomon Campbell who was the grandson of an enslaved man living on Hilton Head during the Union capture of HHI in 1861. He was the first Gullah teacher born and raised on the island and an early craftsman of boats and homes on Hilton Head. Growing up in the Lowcountry, Lola developed a deep respect and admiration for the stories of her elders and seeks to spread this respect.
Lola graduated from The University of Georgia and Howard University School of Law. She’s a writer and poet with a self-published book, an entrepreneur, and works as senior derivatives counsel for a major financial institution. She loves spending time on the island with her nine year old son, Jaylen!