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Church Members Gather Before Service

1979 (negative); 2017 (print)
Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, American, born 1951

From 1977 to 1981, documentary photographer Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe made multiple visits to Daufuskie Island, situated just off the coast of South Carolina, to photograph the Gullah people. The Gullah are direct descendants of enslaved Africans who were forced to work on plantations there from the 1700s on.


After emancipation, many of the Gullah remained in the region and purchased the lands on which they were formerly enslaved. Their relative isolation allowed them to preserve their unique blend of African and Creole culture, language, and customs over generations. Moutoussamy-Ashe’s loving photographs document life on Daufuskie before a wave of development on the island in the 1980s.

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