The pages of this book unlock some of the oral histories of Edisto Island as told by our past elders, long-time residents and present historians. It takes a hard look at the many struggles, pains, trauma, victories, laughter, and triumphs of the enslaved Africans brought to one of Charleston’s many Sea Islands by force to work against their will. This is a story about the history and perseverance of the Gullah Geechee people who endured centuries of slavery only to then find themselves confronted for yet another century with the social, political and legalized virulence and violence of Jim Crow and segregation. It dives into the rich Gullah history, culture, and customs of Black Edistonians. These very personal and poignant oral stories passed down from our African ancestors of years gone by have shaped who we are as Islanders. This book shares our ancestors’ experiences and the powerful recollections as told from the African American perspective. The focus of this book will be seen from the eyes of our enslaved fore-parents. It will tackle some very taboo subjects that have often been glossed over, downplayed or, in some cases, not even acknowledged.
This book highlights just some of the “Black Kings and Queens of Edisto”, in the late 19th century to the 20th century, that paved the way for many blacks, bringing us as a people through the very dark period of Slavery, Reconstruction, and Jim Crow into the present day. It delves into the lives of such people as Maum Bella, Ismael Moultrie, Jim Hutchinson, John Thorne, Francis William (Horry) Reed, John Pearson Hutchinson, Jane Edwards, Laura Wall Reed, James Giles, Henry Hutchinson, Sam Gadsden, Bubberson Brown, Lenora Washington, Lula Bligen, Alleen Woods, Doll Grant, Rev. McKinley Washington, Rev. Tony L. Daise, Addie Miller Wright, but also many others who were omitted from our history books and by any definition are genuine heroes deserving permanent recognition. It ensures that these brave people will not be forgotten and that we will continue to draw strength from their courage and perseverance. We celebrate these, our stately trailblazers & pioneers, who took courageous steps and made insurmountable sacrifices to lead the recently free blacks into the dawning of a new day – to true independence and prosperity into the modern era.
Finally, this book will highlight several white allies on Edisto and elsewhere who risked their lives and reputations to ultimately do what was right in the sight of God. These amazing people have worked diligently to alleviate human suffering, exuded compassion for others, built bridges of understanding, sought to educate the masses, and helped to promote the rich Gullah culture and experience on Edisto as well as throughout the world.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Greg Estevez is the great-great-grandson of Henry Hutchinson, a former enslaved African who built the Hutchinson House on Edisto Island, South Carolina in 1885. His family has deep roots in Edisto, which span for seven or more generations. As a first-time author, Greg enjoys learning about African American history and culture.
He proudly served and retired from the United States Navy. During his time in the service, it afforded him the opportunity to travel extensively throughout the world, visiting over 35 countries around the globe. This valuable life experience gave him a deeper understanding and insight into different cultures around the world.
Greg has a Master’s degree in Human Services from Capella University. He currently lives and works in the beautiful city of Jacksonville, Florida. One of his greatest joys is traveling with his wonderful wife, Cheryl to interesting places. He has two amazing adult children; one son named Ra’Shan and one daughter named Mone’t.