When the remains of 36 African-descended individuals were unearthed during the 2013 remodeling of the Gaillard Center in downtown Charleston, a great deal also came to light regarding our present-day reconciliation with the city’s past.
Now, Charleston residents and visitors can benefit from an unprecedented immersion in the topic by way of a new exhibition. On Monday, April 16, 2018, at 6 p.m., the public is invited to a free talk, conversation and curator-led tour at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park of the exhibition”WOKE: Rattling Bones, Conversations, Sacred Rites and Holy Places,“ which documents research and fieldwork currently underway throughout the Lowcountry, sharing sobering realities about events in Charleston’s previous decades. It also features documentary photographs by renowned photographer Leonard Freed, which were taken during the Civil Rights era on Johns Island.
The exhibition was largely powered by faculty and students at the College of Charleston. Curator Ade Ofunniyin, adjunct professor of anthropology at the College of Charleston and founder of the Gullah Society, worked with several CofC students to create the exhibit. The project represents a partnership between The City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs and the Gullah Society. On exhibit through May 6, “Woke” encompasses art; DNA and archaeological research; community conversations; and educational programs.
Ofunniyin along with Eric Poplin and Inna Moore, senior archaeologists at cultural resources consulting firm Brockington and Associates, will lead the event at the City Gallery on Monday.
“We are excited about this significant opportunity to reconcile the past, and honor the people buried on this sacred ground,” says Ofunniyin. “We hope that future DNA research, in combination with long since completed archaeological research, will help us learn more about the individuals buried at this site.”