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Sheila J.
Democrat TX 18

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  • Gullah/geechee Cultural Heritage Act Amendment

    by Representative Sheila Jackson Lee

    Posted on 2016-02-24

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    JACKSON LEE of texas in the house of representatives Wednesday, February 24, 2016 Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 3004, to amend the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Act to extend the authorization for the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission.

    In 2005, Congress passed legislation--H.R. 694, preserving the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage.

    This law also established a Commission, nominated and appointed by the Secretary of Interior.

    At the passage of the original Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Act, the membership of the commission was limited to a 3 year term.

    The Commission is comprised of 15 members who are recognized experts in historic preservation, anthropology, and folklore.

    The Commissioners assist in identifying and preserving sites, historical data, artifacts, and objects associated with the Gullah/ Geechee for the benefit and education of the public.

    The purpose of the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission is to assist Federal, State, and local authorities in the development and implementation of a management plan for those land and waters of the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor.

    H.R. 3004 would ensure the continued protection and preservation of the history and contributions of the Gullah/Geechee people of Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida.

    Lastly, the law stated that the Commission should be terminated after 10 years.

    H.R. 3004 will extend the authorization of the Gullah/Geechee Commission from ``10 years'' to ``15 years''.

    This Black History, the work of the Commission is imperative in facilitating the enhancement and preservation of the Gulla/Geechee cultural heritage.

    It also continues to facilitate highlighting the important history of African Americans with Gullah/Geechee heritage.

    Indeed, the original Act, H.R. 694 as passed was intended to recognize the seminal contribution of African American Gullah/Geechee made to American culture and history.

    These African Americans settled in the coastal states of South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida.

    Since its passage, the Act has facilitated efforts in these identified coastal states in interpreting the story and role of the Gullah/Geechee.

    Additionally, through the work of the Commission, efforts are now underway to preserve the Gullah/Geechee folklore, arts, crafts, and music.

    Most critically, the Act and extension of the authorization of the tenure of the Commission will further support the work of continued identification and preservation of sites, gathering of historical data, protection of artifacts, and objects associated with the Gullah/ Geechee.

    The extension of the work of the Commission under the original Act and this current legislation will yield benefits of education of the general public on the important contribution of the Gullah/Geechee.

    Through the educational outreach work alone, our nation will learn about the Heritage Corridor which comprises those lands and waters generally depicted on a map entitled ``Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor.'' This is just one prime example of the benefit of the original Act and this current extension of the tenure of the Commission, which I rise in support of.


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