A visit to the Geechee Kunda Cultural Center in Riceboro is a must when visiting Georgia. I spent hours with Jim Bacote and his sister Bethany and it still wasn’t enough. It was my favorite stop on my journey through Liberty County. Their genuine hospitality and desire to share the history of the Gullah/Geechee people was inspiring.
The kunda (which means compound or home of hope) is located on lands where the rice, cotton, and indigo once grew as part of the “Retreat Plantation.” It is now sacred land and a spiritual center for Africans in America.
“The Gullah/Geechee Nation exists from Jacksonville, NC to Jacksonville, FL. It encompasses all of the Sea Islands and thirty to thirty-five miles inland to the St. John’s River. On these islands, people from numerous African ethnic groups linked with indigenous Americans and created the unique Gullah language and traditions from which later came “Geechee.” The Gullah/Geechee people have been considered “a nation within a nation” from the time of chattel enslavement in the United States until they officially became an internationally recognized nation on July 2, 2000. At the time of their declaration as a nation, they confirmed the election of their first “head pun de boddee”-head of state and official spokesperson and queen mother. They elected Queen Quet, Chieftess and Head-of-State for the Gullah/Geechee Nation ).”
Exhibit galleries, local crafts, a gift shop, a family research center, and ongoing documentation are all part of the center’s efforts to keep the Gullah/Geechee culture alive and growing.
If you are fortunate enough to have Jim make you lunch, you are in for a treat. Fried lobster, whiting, sweet Georgia white shrimp, corn on the cob, pasta salad, and spinach salad with fresh strawberries were prepared just for us. You won’t find a better meal in town. I promise!
A historic building has been moved onto the property and will soon be restored for use again as a Praise Hall. Call and response praise events, complete with live music, are something I would like to see.
I look forward to returning to see Jim with my own family. They are constantly adding to the center so each trip will be a delight.
Come explore this wonderful historic location for yourself. You will be glad you did.
622 Ways Temple Rd.
(Located off I-95 Exit 67 on Hwy 17 South between (Mile Marker 3 and Mile Marker 4).
Follow the Historic Liberty Trail signs once you are in Riceboro.