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The Gullah people are the descendants of slaves in South Carolina’s Sea Islands who earned their freedom by being immune to malaria and therefore able to survive in the depths of the coastal swamps where the white man couldn’t go. A hundred years ago they were still safe in their own little world, speaking a unique mix of English and the languages their West African ancestors spoke and practicing all sorts of zany African folk customs.
Then modernity crashed in on them. Now the few clinging to the tattered shreds of their traditions are basically nothing more than field-trip fodder for local students. The rest have faded into the woodwork of general poor black culture, with a couple interesting vestiges of their glory days. For instance, they can still bang out a mean batch of moonshine.
Two of the guys from the Vice Record's band Black Lips used to travel up from Atlanta to help build houses for the poor folks in the area and had met a couple weathered old Gullah partiers who turned them on to the local brew, which they claim kicked their asses and then some. When we found this out, we decided it was imperative to head down and sample this hooch before it was gone for good.
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