Gullah Geechee heritage float in Inaugural parade - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Gullah Geechee heritage float featured in Inaugural parade

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By Ava Wilhite
awilhite@abcnews4.com

Charleston, S.C. (WCIV) -- In two weeks President Barack Obama will be sworn into office for a second term.  Here in the Lowcountry, Chairman of the Gullah Geechee Corridor Ronald Daise is still planning the finishing touches of their Inaugural parade float.

"Well, 'we glad up for the in way for be there' or in other words, we are exceedingly proud," said Daise.

Daise says out of 1,200 plus applications, the Gullah Geechee Corridor float was selected to participate in the military parade.

"It is the only national heritage area in this country that portrays the living culture of an African American population," said Daise.  

This wasn't the first application submitted. Daise says they sent a detailed application for the first inauguration, but were not selected. He says it was decided to make some changes then try again.

"We'll show the connection with First Lady Michelle Obama, it will give thanks to the troops of the 11 military bases within the four state corridor that extends from Wilmington, North Carolina along to coast through South Carolina, Georgia all the way down to St. Augustine, Florida.

Daise says the float will showcase the culture's rice heritage, including sweet grass baskets from both South Carolina and Georgia, which were originally used to carry rice.

"It was the skills and technological knowledge of our ancestors, West Africans from the grain coast who's intelligence and labor made the communities of today's Gullah Geechee culture," said Daise.

Daise says this national opportunity to display Gullah Geechee culture will not only preserve their history but also introduce a new audience to their history through the float.

"We want them to realize the significance of our culture that it is not a culture of people who dress in bright colors and who speak a loud and strange language," said Daise.

Construction of the float will take place in St. Matthews, South Carolina.

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