The Lowcountry of South Carolina is home to the Gullah Geechee people, whose language and traditions retain strong connections to their West African ancestors. But gentrification threatens their ability to practice the crafts that have sustained them for over a century. Nearby Benedict College holds the archives of the Mather School, founded in the aftermath of the Civil War to educate the newly emancipated. Join us for an episode featuring interviews with Benedict’s archivist, Wanda Scott Kinney, and museum studies professor and South Carolina native Dr. Porchia Moore, about how these distinct but adjacent communities fought for survival in the face of racial and economic oppression.
Sources and References (in order of appearance)
- Benedict College
- Miss Bathsheba A. Benedict
- Rachel Crane Mather
- The Mather School: Technical College of the Lowcountry
- Dr. Porchia Moore
- Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission
- Pee Dee
- Sullivan’s Island
- Queen Quet
- Heirs’ property
- Gullah Tours
- Gullah Geechee Tours
- Akan people
- The Sankofa Bird
Behind the Mic
Sharon M. Burney
Sharon M. Burney is a program officer with CLIR, where she supports the Recordings at Risk and Digitizing Hidden Special Collections grant programs. Sharon specializes in academic, cultural heritage, community, and institutional support systems, navigating administrative policy adherence with an interpersonal connection that promotes community building. Prior to joining CLIR, she spent 15 years providing program support to the University of Florida African American Studies Program, helping it to become a premiere degree program. She is also a widely respected poet and community organizer. She loves to embrace the infinite historical contributions of the African diaspora, and blends them with contemporary civil rights, activism, and social issues in her poetry. Her passion for public service, education, and humanity is exemplified in every aspect of her life, and when in rest mode you can find her enjoying the simple moments with her daughters and pets.
Wanda Scott-Kinney has been employed with Benedict College, in Columbia, South Carolina, for 40 years and is adamant that she could not have found a better or more honorable place to work. After 28 years as the Registrar and director of student records, she now serves as coordinator of Archives and Institutional Records. She is responsible for coordinating the services and operations of the Benjamin F. Payton Learning Resources Center, Archives Center. She makes available materials that document the 150 years history of the College and serves in a capacity to preserve its special historic collections. She received her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Benedict College and a master’s degree in business from Webster University, both of Columbia, South Carolina.
Dr. Porchia Moore is the program head of museum studies at the University of Florida and an affiliate faculty in the Center for Arts, Migration, and Entrepreneurship. She dually earned her doctorate from the School of Library and Information Science and a Graduate Certificate in Museum Management from the McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina. A recipient of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Laura Bush 21st Century fellowship, she is a museum visionary and activist-scholar who employs Critical Race Theory to interrogate museums and other cultural heritage spaces.