South Carolina State Quarter
Sweetgrass Baskets – South Carolina Quarter have something in common. Both carry the legacy of a people and their culture; from the West Coast of Africa to the South Carolina Low Country. Each Palmetto frond woven into a row of a Sweetgrass baskets holds the culture, traditions, values and strength of the Gullah people of South Carolina.
There are traditions and cultural norms passed down from generation to generation. We often call it their legacy. The definition of a legacy according to Britannica is “something that happened in the past or that comes from someone in the past.”
Well the word legacy is used very often to acknowledge ways of life, traditions, and significant things people did that are carried on and honored by people living their lives today.
I often use the word legacy to acknowledge the long-lasting impact and influence of events, actions or traditions passed from generation to generation; those things that help define a culture.
And, what is a culture? I’ve always loved the definition of my professor of International studies’ Dr. Milton Bennett- “the learned and shared values, beliefs, and behaviors of a community of interacting people” Culture includes language, food, dress, music, arts, literature, and the group’s customs, beliefs, attitudes, and the values of the interacting people.
Culture and traditions can be passed on as a legacy not only from generation to generation, but also from country to country.
On this podcast I feature the sweetgrass baskets – from West Africa to South Carolina – I tell their story with the help and knowledge from Corey Alston, a speaker, Sweetgrass Basket Weaver, Gullah historian and culture representative. Corey shares his story, the story of his family, and the history of Gullah Basket Weavers.
The story of a basket is not always what we think of as having a strong legacy; one that binds cultures, struggles, triumphs, traditions in work done by a people, as well as their cultural art. A simplicity of beauty that reaches far beyond the beautiful craft, to a people who have sustained some of the hardest conditions placed on men and women -to be enslaved. To be taken from their homeland, their country and family, but what could not be taken is a tradition that has lived on from generation to generation, passed from family member to family member – the Sweetgrass basket is a testament to that strength and legacy.
On the reverse or tail side of the South Carolina State Quarter released in 2000, you’ll find an outline of the state which is also called “The Palmetto State” with four symbols, a star representing Columbia, the state’s capital, a Palmetto tree, the Carolina Wren – the state bird, and the Yellow Jessamine.
It is a story of the Palmetto tree that we will share on this episode. The Palmetto State, is known for it’s Palmetto trees. And, that tree is part of the tradition of Sweetgrass baskets.
But let’s start at the beginning because the baskets are not called Palmetto baskets, they are called Sweetgrass baskets. I had a long and educational conversation with Corey Alston where he shares information about the history of sweetgrass baskets, the traditions and the legacy.
Listen to our conversation – Sweetgrass Baskets and South Carolina Quarter
Contact Corey for one of his Sweetgrass baskets
After listening I’m sure you will be ready to plan a trip to Charleston and meet Corey. To start planning your trip to Charleston visit the website – explorecharleston.com
When visiting Charleston, make sure to visit the historic plantations, where the skilled and knowledgable enslaved Africans worked and passed on the traditions that you can still find in the Charleston City Market and along Highway 17 in Mount Pleasant.
To learn more about the U.S. Mint and their commemorative quarters programs, visit the website – USMint.Gov
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Reach in your pocket, or your sofa cushion and you’ll find a quarter waiting for you to explore. Flip it over and Quarter Miles Travel will take it from there; we’ll help you turn that quarter into an adventure.