Work Basket, Sapelo Island, Georgia, 1850-1900

Description
The Lowcountry (coastal) region of the Carolinas and Georgia and the nearby Atlantic Sea Islands were and continue to be home to a distinctive regional African American culture that is now recognized as the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor. By the 1680s, rice began to be grown on the coast. By the mid-1700s, rice became the dominant cash crop for the region. Plantation owners wanted enslaved people from West Africa who already knew the complicated process required for growing rice. The work of these enslaved Africans made the Carolina rice planters the richest planters in the American colonies. The distinctive cultures that West African people brought included the knowledge of how to make coiled grass baskets for a variety of uses. This bulrush work basket was made on Sapelo Island, Georgia, sometime between 1850 and 1900. On the Sea Islands, the primary crop was very soft and expensive cotton, known as “Sea Island Cotton.” Rice was grown only for local consumption along with potatoes and other vegetables.
Physical Description
fiber, plant (overall material)
grass, swamp (overall material)
coiled (overall production method/technique)
Measurements
overall: 6.5 cm x 35 cm x 35 cm; 2 9/16 in x 13 25/32 in x 13 25/32 in
ID Number
CL.401992
catalog number
401992
accession number
251760
Credit Line
Dr. Baruch S. Blumberg
subject
African American
Blacks
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Ethnic
Many Voices, One Nation
Exhibition
Many Voices, One Nation
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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