Gullah float to appear in inaugural parade

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- The Gullah-Geechee culture of slave descendants will be thrust onto the national scene today with a float in the presidential inaugural parade.

It's the first time a Gullah float will appear and it's expected to bring new attention to the culture that has seen a big change in public perception. As recently as 20 years ago, many who grew up in the culture often tried to hide their roots.

The float was assembled in here in the Lowcountry with some finishing touches to be made this morning in the nation's capitol.

The Gullah-Geeche corridor float was selected from over two-thousand submissions.

Ron Daise, the chairman of the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission, says now Gullah folk no longer have to be ashamed of their culture, language and history.

The culture, known as Gullah in the Carolinas and Geechee in Georgia and Florida, has its own creole language. The float will include aspects of the culture including sweetgrass baskets and shrimp nets.