Living Legacy: Programs Illuminating Native and Gullah Histories

The Morris Center for Lowcountry Heritage will present a series of 16 collateral programs from April 2024 – January 2025 to go along with two exhibits that they will have on display: Language of Clay: Catawba Indian Pottery & Oral Traditions and Sandy Islanders: A People of the Land. The proposed programs are diverse and include lectures, guided exhibit tours, a documentary screening, and a storytelling festival. SC Humanities supported this programming with a Mini Grant.

The Language of Clay: Catawba Indian Pottery and Oral Traditions was created by and on loan from the University of South Carolina Lancaster. Pottery making is the single most unbroken material tradition of the Catawba Nation’s long history and is still done with methods handed down through generations. The Language of Clay features dozens of clay pottery pieces created by Catawba artisans from the 19th century to the present that represent various Catawba traditions and legends. The exhibition highlights the tribe’s rich cultural legacy, inviting patrons to gain a deeper understanding of the artistry and significance embedded in each clay creation. 

Sandy Islanders: A People of the Land displays the lives of residents of Sandy Island through photography and interviews, building on the important early work of novelist Julia Peterkin and photographer Doris Ulmann. Creating intimate portraits of Sandy Islanders, photo-documentarian Vennie Deas-Moore examines the Island’s rich history. Her photographs and interviews touch upon early Carolina lowcountry life, its successful rice culture, its time-honored African traditions, and the multigenerational African American families that tie them all together. This exhibit was created by and on loan from the McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina.

The program series will include a variety of events and topics, including lectures, documentary screenings, guided tours, and a story festival.

The first event in the series will be “Yamasee Legacy” on April 27. Other planned events include a screening of the film Saving Sandy Island on Friday, May 17; a lecture on Catawba History 101 with Kassidy Plyler on Saturday, June 8, and a Story Fest with Native & Gullah narratives on Saturday, October 19. More details about these and additional programs will be posted soon.

Saturday, April 27, 2024 | 11:00 a.m.
Yamasee Legacy
Originating from the Southeastern United States, the Yamassee had a rich cultural impact on the Lowcountry that spans generations. Join us in a celebration of history and tradition. This endeavor not only honors the past but also nurtures a meaningful legacy.
Location: Morris Center for Lowcountry Heritage, 10782 S. Jacob Smart Blvd., Ridgeland, SC 29936
$5 ticket
Info: 843-284-9227

Friday, May 17, 2024 | 6:00 p.m.
Documentary Screening: Saving Sandy Island
Come to the Morris Center for a showing of “Saving Sandy Island,” part of the Carolina Stories Series presented by SCETV. This documentary delves into the battle to protect a remarkable South Carolina island and its Gullah community from urbanization. Sandy Island, boasting endangered species and precious longleaf pine forests, stands as the largest untouched freshwater island on the eastern seaboard. The film chronicles the inspiring collaboration among conservationists, government bodies, entrepreneurs, and local inhabitants who united to safeguard this unique locale and uphold its rich cultural heritage.
Location: Morris Center for Lowcountry Heritage, 10782 S. Jacob Smart Blvd., Ridgeland, SC 29936
$5 suggested ticket
Info: 843-284-9227

Saturday, May 19, 2024 | 3:00 p.m.
Living Legacy Tours
Enjoy a unique perspective during our series of South Carolina Museum Tours located at the Morris Center. This series explores two of our current exhibits showcasing the history and culture of the Catawba Nation and Gullah people of Sandy Island. Guests will enjoy a guided tour while they learn how the communities are preserving their legacies. Suggested $5 donation.
Location: Morris Center for Lowcountry Heritage, 10782 S. Jacob Smart Blvd., Ridgeland, SC 29936
Info: 843-284-9227

Project Director Kayleigh Vaughn said, “Drawing upon insights from humanities scholars and resource personnel, the Morris Center will develop engaging programming aimed at amplifying the two exhibitions and offering deeper context to our diverse audiences. Our aim is to educate individuals across generations about the rich histories of Native American and Gullah communities.”

Morris Center for Lowcountry Heritage is a non-profit organization with a mission to collect, preserve, and interpret the history and culture of the South Carolina Lowcountry by providing learning opportunities to its citizens and visitors.  Learn more:

The mission of SC Humanities is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians. Established in 1973, this 501(c)3 organization is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors comprised of community leaders from throughout the state. It presents and supports literary initiatives, lectures, exhibits, festivals, publications, oral history projects, videos, and other humanities-based experiences that directly or indirectly reach more than 250,000 citizens annually. South Carolina Humanities receives funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities as well as corporate, foundation and individual donors. The National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom.