Kurt S. Browning
Secretary of State
For Immediate Release
October 30, 2007
Contact: Sandy Shaughnessy
Division of Cultural Affairs
Secretary of State Announces Selection of Florida Commissioners to Gullah-Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor
Tallahassee, FLORIDA –
Secretary of State Kurt S. Browning announced today that several Florida citizens have been named as the first commissioners to serve on the National Park Service's Gullah-Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor. The corridor celebrates the contributions to American culture and history made by Africans and African-Americans from the Gullah and Geechee communities along the Atlantic coast from Jacksonville, FL to Wilmington, NC. The commission will manage the area in partnership with the National Park Service and the state historic preservation offices of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
The commission consists of 15 members; five cultural resource experts and 10 state representatives. Among the 10 state representatives and alternates nominated by the state historic preservation offices and selected by Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne are Florida commissioners Glenda Simmons Jenkins, (Fernandina Beach) and Ralph Johnson (Ft. Lauderdale / Sunrise). William Jefferson (Jacksonville) and Anthony E. Dixon (Tallahassee) are the designated alternates. Florida's designated cultural resources expert is Antoinette T. Jackson (Tampa). Anthony E. Dixon is her alternate.
"The Gullah people have a very rich cultural history," said National Park Service Director Mary A. Bomar, when announcing the members of the commission. "The National Park Service (NPS) has conducted a special study to determine ways to preserve this culture that is threatened by modern development. The rich diversity of our nation certainly includes this unique society and we must preserve this as another of the precious pieces of the cultural mosaic that is America. The NPS looks forward to working with the Commission members and with the states."
The Gullah-Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor was designated by Congress in 2006 as one of 37 National Heritage Areas throughout the nation. The corridor recognizes the rich and distinctive Gullah-Geechee culture that has flavored regional folklore, arts, crafts, food and music.