Saturday, July 28, 2007
Presented by Ron Daise
(Author, Educator, Performer, Historian and TV star)
Ron Daise has over 25 years of experience as a writer, historian, presentor and actor. His programs are developed for college, university and community audiences.
An interactive, audience-participatory PowerPoint program that presents 10 memorable ways to identify Gullah and Geechee heritage through lyrics to the tune of a well-known Gullah coded message song. Foods, language, crafts, etc., are artistically investigated as viewers sing stanzas that conclude: “…and my ancestors came from West Africa.” 60 minutes.
“PRISCILLA’S POSSE: A Press Conference about Gullah Heritage”
Through songs, lectures and photographs, Daise recounts the historical visit of Thomalind Martin Polite of North Charleston to Sierra Leone, West Africa in May 2005. Polite is the 7th-generation descendant of “Priscilla,” a 10-year-old Sierra Leonean who was captured as a slave in 1756 and brought to a rice plantation in South Carolina. Cultural links with Gullah and Sierra Leone are explored: language, dietary practices, crafts, rice production, and the Bunce Island Slave Castle. The performance will cite the origins of Gullah and Geechee culture, elements of West African heritage, particular Gullah and Sierra Leonean language, crafts, beliefs, songs. 75-minutes.
Upon arrival, arbitrary audience members will be issued five questions and asked to participate as "reporters" during the scripted mock press conference.
“UNDER THE SAME SUN
A Gullah Journey Along ‘The Lowcountry Trail’”
Gullah historian and performing artist Ron Daise captivatingly leads viewers on a journey that emphasizes Gullah history, lore, and culture. Scenic photographs showcase one-of-a-kind laser-cut steel sculptures by renowned artist Babette Bloch and archeological sites along “The Lowcountry Trail,” an outdoor museum exhibit at Brookgreen Gardens, a National Historic Landmark in Murrells Inlet, SC. Daise utilizes poetry, song, and factual presentation. Through a creative nonfiction account told through the points-of-view of the four sculptures, he informs how the Plantation Owner, Overseer, Enslaved African Male, and Enslaved African Female worked alongside each other “under the same sun” and shaped Gullah heritage.
“MY SOUL BEEN BLESS!
GULLAH ROOTS, BRANCHES, BLOSSOMS”
In “MY SOUL BEEN BLESS! Gullah Roots, Branches, Blossoms,” performer, author, educator, historian and TV star Ronald Daise utilizes reader’s theater to present original poetry, song and short stories that lead viewers on a journey exploring the connections of West African heritage with Gullah culture and the ties that bind cultures of the African Diaspora. Breathtaking photographs of Ghanaian lifestyles, children, culture, slave dungeons and scenic beauty, along with audience participation in singing and storytelling, add to the viewers’ sense that once the 75-minute theatrical journey has ended, their souls, too, have been blessed!
Daise developed the production following a five-week trip to Ghana, West Africa, through a Fulbright-Hays U.S. Department of Education grant. A Sea Island descendant of enslaved West Africans, Daise said he felt as though he had come home. He continued: “The `Teaching & Learning in Ghana 2004 Program’ etched within my psyche a more keen desire to connect: with others about what I learned about my cultural history and heritage, with my past experiences to analyze how they affected or are affecting my present, and with members of the African Diaspora to continue learning and communicating our inter-relatedness and contributions to world culture.”
“MAKE A DIFFERENCE! (Lessons from Africa to You)”
In this penetrating and provocative PowerPoint presentation, Daise utilizes photographs, original poetry, song and storytelling to encourage participants to explore their individual reality and to fine-tune ways to impact the future.
The program was developed following Daise’s five-week trip to Ghana, West Africa, through a Fulbright-Hays U.S. Department of Education grant. A Sea Island descendant of enslaved West Africans, Daise said he felt as though he had come home. He continued: “The `Teaching & Learning in Ghana 2004 Program’ etched within my psyche a more keen desire to connect: with others about what I learned about my cultural history and heritage, with my past experiences to analyze how they affected or are affecting my present, and with members of the African Diaspora to continue learning and communicating our inter-relatedness and contributions to world culture.”
Requirements: writing pad and utensil. Post-presentation discussion is encouraged. 60 minutes.
TECHNICAL NEEDS. All Presentations require:
Empty stage or Performance area
1 stand microphone or lapel microphone
Laptop computer (for PowerPoint CD)
Projector (with remote control)
Playback CD deck and Audio Tech (for “My Soul Been Bless!”)
For more information about Ron Daise, please visit the following web site. http://www.gullahgullah.com/ronbio.html
Ron Daise's most recent book Gullah Branches, West African Roots has been released to excellent reviews.
Gullah Branches, West African Roots is a memoir of a Gullah man discovering personal and cultural connections with West Africa through sojourns to Ghana and Sierra Leone. Ronald Daise, a Gullah native of St. Helena Island, SC, utilizes poetry, prose, creative non-fiction, songs, photographs, and his own unique voice to involve readers in a vibrant journey to cultural and historical roots. The book is a sequel to Daise’s Reminiscences of Sea Island Heritage (Sandlapper Publishing, 1986).
In the Foreword, U.S. Congressman and House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-SC), who championed the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Act, states:
“Ron has exposed the beauty of a once closeted culture, and compelled his audience with a sense of urgency to preserve it. This work inspires pride in those with Gullah roots, those previously shamed by others outside and even within their own families. Ron is telling their story and the story of their ancestors. It is a story of faith, of courage, and of character. Gullah Branches, West African Roots is an unabashed celebration of a vibrant culture. Through the eyes of Ron Daise, we experience the daily life of Gullah people past and present. We can almost hear the sounds of Negro spirituals ringing in our ears, feel the romantic language of the Gullah people rolling off our tongues, taste the curried rice and other sea island delicacies, and see the rich colors that express such deep meaning within Gullah traditions. This is a story of hope that breaks the literal and figurative bonds of slavery. Ron has thoughtfully and thoroughly documented the journey of the Gullah culture and instilled pride in all those of Gullah Geechee heritage. His anecdotes are compelling and artfully weaved, much like the sweetgrass baskets that have come to symbolize the Gullah culture. I commend him on this extraordinary book, and I would recommend it as a “must read” for students in South Carolina schools."
Daise's journey to understand, embrace and celebrate his Gullah culture led him from the islands of Coastal South Carolina to the islands and coastal countries of West Africa. This book documents that journey through photographs, essays, story and song and also serves as an excellent resource for others. To that end, Daise has developed a lesson guide that will assist educators throughout the country who wish to use Gullah Branches, West African Roots in their classrooms and lecture seminars. For more information about Gullah Branches, West African Roots and its accompanying study guide, as well as opportunities for Ron Daise to make presentations to College, University and community organization, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.