By Mike E. Bedenbaugh
Daufuskie Island is an isolated barrier island just south of Beaufort, South Carolina, and north of Savannah. It has a rich history associated with the Gullah, descendants of enslaved Africans who live on the barrier Islands of South Carolina and Georgia. Following the Civil War, the island was home to the newly freed slaves and became a destination for other freedmen to take advantage of the developing oyster industry. By the 1920s, the island boasted a population of well over 1,500 persons who made a living off of the oyster industry, farming and fishing. Due to the island’s isolation, the Gullah culture and language remained very strong and prominent well into the mid-20th century.
In the 1950s, however, the oyster beds collapsed because of pollution in the nearby Savannah River from numerous wood pulp mills up river, and many families left for better opportunities in nearby Savannah. In the 1980s, development arrived on the island in the form of several private gated communities, leaving less than a third of the island still owned by the original Gullah families.... Read More →