Jim Bacote of the Geechee Kunda Cultural Center just radiates joy and hospitality.

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.

Homemade baskets at the Geechee Kunda Cultural Center
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Shrimp and Lobster made by Jim for our lunch
Geechee Kunda Cultural Center
Geechee Kunda Cultural Center
Geechee Kunda Cultural Center
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A sample of rice still grown in the USA by a coastal plantation
Geechee Kunda Cultural Center
Bethany playing a handmade Xylophone
More handmade instruments in the gathering hall
A mural at Geechee Kunda painted by a local artist. Jim is part of the painting (top) and his wife Pat is in the center.
Jim explaining the use of the sugar cane mill
Over 100 years old, this fire pit was used for boiling down the sugar cane and more
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A cornerstone of an old building.  Made with from local shells
Red, a sweet rescue, is the Geechee Kunda welcoming committee.
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Tiny home lovers will swoon over this little round building. I wanted to move in.
The sugar cane mill still operational and in fantastic condition
History and artifacts are sprinkled all over the area
Old pots with the museum building in the background.
An overview of just part of the Geechee Kunda Cultural Center
Look what I found!  Sadly, It didn’t fit in my suitcase as a gift for Chris.

Come explore this wonderful historic location for yourself.  You will be glad you did.

Geechee Kunda
622 Ways Temple Rd.
Riceboro, GA
(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.

1 Comment »

  1. This is an awesome location. Have always loved Black Art. We visited about a month ago now. Thought we had seen much in to talking category in and about Georgia. This was an amazing trip did not expect to take in stay, eat and enjoy ourselves so much. Oh by the way going back in November for the home made Cane Juice and Syrup. OK I never tasted home made syrup in my life Aunt Jemma cannot compare. Well if you watching your waistline stay in the gym,: it tastes like buttered finger licking hmm repeated word Xcel Lente: I cant explain how well this syrup rolled on my tongue. Btw my sister asked me for some and I share everything, no I didn’t share; I’m cherishing until the first Saturday after Thanksgiving. Yes then I will bring her some or invite her to come with us. Lol Oh my God too much to see and two generous , people Pat and Jim. checked out the menu from the Photographer couldn’t get jealous. for brunch we had shrimp, whiting all local and sweet potato fries with coco bread of course prepared by Jim, we were indeed Blessed after attending a local spirit moving Church will the tambourines, washboards, out of this World local Singer who made you dance and worship as well as a travelling with her older children . Made everyone jealous. This was a short trip;for a surprise visit with Brother and Niece. We were overwhelmingly wonderfully surprised and Loved every minute.
    Guess what turns out we are Family too. Laughing out really loud. Needless to say still smiling.
    PS. The Former Northern Side of Family. Not anymore, You enjoy.
    Thanks again Jim and Pat and GeeChee Kunda.

    Like

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