The Healing Liberia with History tour came to the annual Geeche Kunda gathering in Riceboro, Georgia. I was invited to talk about the ties between the Kissi and Gola of West Africa to the Geeche and Gullah of the southern U. S.
Liberians of my generation were brought up to believe that no Africans from our area were sold into slavery in the Americas. That myth is not supported by the overwhelming evidence. Linguists say the names Geeche-Gulllah are derived from Kissi-Gola.
The path to a brighter future for any people must begin with knowledge and appreciation of their past. Let the journey start with us!
As documented in my book Between the Kola Forest and the Salty Sea, the Kissi in Liberia were renown for blacksmithing and the twisted iron money called “Kissi pennies.” In was heartwarming to watch a Geeche blacksmith and metal artist work his magic with fire, anvil and hammer.
Blessed to be a bridge between our Liberian ancestors and their African-American descendants. Enjoyed a warm, welcoming embrace from the community, along with some lip-smacking salmon and rice plus a side of cornbread. I recommend this pilgrimage to every Liberian in the U. S. who thinks African traditions are worth preserving.
Thanks to Emmanuel Woods, former Riceboro resident, who arranged the visit. He and family also provided lodging and a delicious Ethiopia meal, complete with the traditional coffee ceremony. Thanks, too, to Putugah Johnson, who traveled all the way from Atlanta.