Voices of the Santee Delta

The Village Museum in McClellanville in partnership with the South Carolina Historical Society is conducting a major oral history project on “Voices of the Santee Delta.” The Santee Delta is an important biological and historic area, and the collected oral histories will be archived at the South Carolina Historical Society and online via the Lowcountry Digital Library, as well as presented at several public forums. South Carolina Humanities supported this project with a Major Grant in September 2015.

The Santee Delta was once the location of an important section of the Rice Kingdom and an enslaved labor force whose descendants have provided a lasting Gullah culture. The voices of this community are diverse in ethnicity and occupation and include biologists, fisherman, property managers, and many others.

In one collected oral history, Pierre Manigault said, “The summers on the Santee Delta are a rough place, as you know. It’s got to be the most mosquito-filled place on the planet. And having spent several weeks in the tundra of northern Alaska, which is supposed to be the worst mosquitoes in the world, everyone says. All I can say is it’s got nothing on the Santee Delta.”

Henrietta Smalls spoke about her godmother Sue Alston: “Yeah, I think she was a mother for this community. She helped keep things going straight. Yes. […] She was always telling people, younger people, ‘Have manners, and be nice to people. We’re all people. We’re all God’s children. God loves us all.’”

The collected oral histories will be shared and discussed at three public forums:

South Santee Senior and Community Center
Saturday, July 16, 2016
6-8 PM

Georgetown County Library
Saturday, August 13, 2016
6-8 PM

Charleston County Public Library
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
5:30-7:30 PM

For more information, contact The Village Museum at 843-887-3030.

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 22-member Board of Directors comprised of community leaders from throughout the state. It presents and/or 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.

Photo Courtesy of the Kinloch Gun Club/Georgetown County Digital Library