Term of Award

Spring 2023

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


College of Education

Committee Chair

Dr. Daniel Chapman

Committee Member 1

Dr. Fayth Parks

Committee Member 2

Dr. John Weaver

Committee Member 3

Dr. Birgitta Johnson

Committee Member 3 Email



African American communities on the east coast Sea Islands of South Carolina and Georgia provide a rare opportunity to study some of the extraordinary elements of African influence on African American culture in the United States (Beoku-Betts, 1994). Known as the Gullah or Geechee (used interchangeably), these communities are comprised of enslaved West African descendants who worked and settled on the islands. During the early 18th century, thousands of enslaved West Africans were seized and shipped to markets in Charleston (SC) and Savannah (GA). Captains of those ships facilitated the transmission of African culture and traditions by bringing authentic musical instruments onboard (Burnin & Maultsby, 2015). Crew members would force the enslaved to dance, sing, and play musical instruments for various reasons. Specifically sought out for expertise in the growing of certain crops including rice, the Gullah-Geechee have retained many ethnic traditions of their native homeland primarily due to geographic isolation along the coastal landscape and tropical conditions. African songs are the foundation for what is referred to as Gullah-Geechee music (Federal Point Historic Preservation Society, 2018). The influence and evolution of musical forms that emerged from this cultural perspective are reflected in many genres of music. Based on the time period of 1970s-Present (2023, the purpose of this study is to determine the role music plays in the lives of the Gullah-Geechee community members, the extent to which music has changed, and the extent to which music of the indigenous group has remained the same.

Research Data and Supplementary Material