Exploring the Rice Culture of Liberty County
Many of us know that the low country has a well-known history related to the rice industry during the early years of our country, starting predominantly in South Carolina before finally making its way south to the Georgia coast.
Our very own Riceboro got its name due to the large amount of rice exporting done by plantations in the area. If you drive through Riceboro today you will find a quiet town with one gas station, a caution light and scenic dirt roads but there is so much more than what meets the eye. Not only is Riceboro the oldest existing town in Liberty County, it is filled with so much rich culture that dates back to the rice era which continues to influence people of the area today!
The early colonists discovered how perfect the coastline was for growing rice, but weren’t sure how to be successful in the industry. So, when searching for workers, they sought people who knew how to plant, harvest and process rice. Those people were predominantly from the western coast of Africa, also known as the “Rice Coast,” from Senegal down to Sierra Leone.
The people brought over from those places influenced the rich culture of the Gullah people who are still prominent in coastal areas of the United States, including our very own Liberty County. The Gullah Geechee have strong ties with their African cultural heritage to include names, a creole language, handicrafts and folktales. In coastal Georgia, the Gullah folks are actually referred to as Geechee and are the people who have the only distinctly African creole language in the United States.
In 2007 Riceboro hosted the first event created to bring the community together to celebrate, embrace and learn about the history of the area. RiceFest provides education and entertainment honoring the heritage and cultural influence that was formed from the local rice industry and the Gullah people. Each year there are lots of different things that take place to include a rice cook off, beauty pageant and a homecoming dance – but the most important part that happens every year is the celebration of Riceboro and the Gullah Geechee people.
RiceFest activities will span over the week of November 3 – 10 this year; for more information please contact Riceboro City Hall at 912.884.2986.
Catie Fanucci, Creative & Content Coordinator for the Liberty County CVB
The Right Blend Blog is written by two different authors employed by the Liberty County Chamber/CVB. As we are able, we rotate weeks and each writes about our individual experiences, opinions and let our writing reflect our personalities and creativity. All content provided on The Right Blend blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site.